California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program

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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 objective 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 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 grades 5 and 8. 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%.


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.

California will "replace [the] STAR tests with more in-depth exams in two years", [1] in 2015 due to the fact that "the STAR testing system is set to expire in July 2014".[2] These new exams would have "requirements for in-depth essays and projects that students will complete on computers."[1] The new tests would follow the new Common Core State Standards.[3]

Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress (MAPP)[edit]

"A plan introduced Wednesday [September 4, 2013] in the state Legislature would end the use of STAR tests in math and English for the school year already under way – a year earlier than planned."[4]

More specifically, this plan is AB-484 and introduces the MAPP testing, a new test aligned to President Obama's Common Core Initiative.[5] [6] The bill ended up being overwhelmingly endorsed by the Senate and is expected to pass the assembly.[7] However, this bill will let California ditch its STAR tests, the mainstay of its school accountability system. [7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Harrington, Theresa (9 January 2013). "California to replace STAR tests with more in-depth exams in two years". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "California STAR testing system set to expire July 2014, new education standards and testing expected". 23ABC News. Scripps Media, Inc. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Mills, David. "New Testing Unveiled for California Schools Would Reduce STAR Testing". Culver City Patch. Patch. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Gutierrez, Melody (5 September 2013). "Bill would cancel STAR testing in math, English this year in California's schools". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Mosbacher, Jack (20 September 2013). "Common Core: California can't afford to forgo test data". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "AB-484 Pupil assessments: Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress (MAPP)". California Legislative Information. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Noguchi, Sharon (10 September 2013). "California schools could lose federal funding over STAR test suspension". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 

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