Standardized Testing and Reporting

The Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program measures performance on the California Achievement Test, Sixth Edition Survey (CAT/6 Survey), the California Content Standards Test and the Spanish Assessment of Basic Education (SABE/2). The STAR Program is the cornerstone of the California Public Schools Accountability Act of 1999 (PSAA). The primary goal of the PSAA is to help schools improve the academic achievement of all students.

Each spring, California students in grades 2 through 11 must take a series of tests that comprise the state's STAR program. These must be completed 10 days before or after 85% of a school's year has passed.

The California Standards Tests (CSTs) are designed to match the state's rigorous academic content standards for each grade. Grades 2 through 8 tests cover mathematics and English/language arts (which includes writing in grades 4 and 7). Grades 9 through 11 cover English/language arts, mathematics, and science. History-social science tests are added for grades 8, 10 and 11 as well as science for grade 5. Except for writing, all questions are multiple-choice.

California's school accountability system was originally based solely on scores from the CAT/6. Through the Academic Performance Index (API), the scores drove the allocation of millions of dollars in intervention and award programs, depending on the health of the state’s budget. (The state has not funded award or intervention programs based on 2002 or 2003 test scores.)

APIs now include results primarily from the California Standards Tests plus CAT/6. Results from the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), taken by 10th graders in the 2001-02 school year, are part of high school APIs. English/language arts scores count for 10% and math for 5%.

History of the STAR Program

For three decades California students took the same statewide test, called CAP (California Assessment Program). Many districts required additional tests, such as CTBS (California Test of Basic Skills).

In the early 1990s, CAP was replaced by CLAS (California Learning Assessment System), which was discontinued in 1995 because of controversy over portions of the test. For the next few years each school district selected its own commercial tests, until the STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) program began in 1998. In this program almost all students in grades 2 through 11 take the California Standards Test that reflect the state's academic content standards plus a nationally normed, standardized test every year. Each school must report individual students' scores to their parents, and group results are released in mid-August.

All students are supposed to be tested, with a few exceptions. Parents may request in writing to the principal that a student not be tested. The Individual Education Programs (IEPs) of some special education students specify they should not be tested. Other special education students are tested in alternate ways, e.g., in Braille or with extra time, if included in their IEP. English learners, no matter what their proficiency, must take the STAR tests unless excused by their parents or their IEP.

The California Standards Test

Most California Standards Tests reflect the state’s academic content standards for the particular grade, with certain exceptions.

Mathematics is approached differently. All students in grades 2-7 take the same grade-level test each year. For grades 8-11, the test depends upon the particular math course in which the student is enrolled. The standards assume that 8th graders are registered in Algebra 1, 9th graders in Geometry, and 10th graders in Algebra 2, and these scores are reported. The High School Summative test is only for students who completed that sequence of courses. Depending on local district curriculum, students in grades 8 through 10 take an alternative test for the first, second, or third year of Integrated Mathematics, an approach that combines algebra, geometry, statistics, and other mathematical knowledge.For science, the Standards Tests are also based on the specific course students take. The options include earth science, biology, chemistry and physics. As with math, tests reflecting an “integrated” approach to science are also offered.

The results of the Standards Tests are reported according to the performance level they reach. The California State Board of Education set five benchmarks to indicate a student’s proficiency. These levels are Advanced, Proficient, Basic, Below Basic, and Far Below Basic. The percent correct determines the performance level, which differs according to the grade and the level. Since the questions are specifically linked to California's standards, the results have no national comparison.The California Standardized Testing and Reporting in no way reflects a student's grades or placement in future classes prior to the test. Contrary to popular belief, future colleges will not make reference to the test for any reason. The STAR is strictly for the representing school's ranking within the state. Schools who reflect higher test scores from their students will receive a higher budget.

Sierra Vista Middle School has been first, of all Southern - California for the past 8 years.

ee also

*California High School Exit Exam

External links

* [ Understanding the STAR Program]
* [ Academic Performance Index]

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