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Tutoring For Your Needs • Passion For Education

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May 082012

With many students currently taking the STAR tests, parents may be wondering
what the STAR tests are and what they are intended to measure.  Therefore, in order to provide a bit more clarity on the STAR tests, we have provided a breakdown of the four different types of STAR tests that are offered in California.

STAR tests are standardized tests that are given to children from 2nd to 11th grade.  Although several different types of standardized tests have been around for decades, they have recently come to be used as regular markers to measure how children are progressing in school.  These tests are administered on a yearly basis and they are usually given close to the end of the school year (typically in March, April, and May).

There are four different types of STAR tests.  What test a child has to take is determined by their cognitive abilities.

Here is the breakdown:

  • CSTs (California Standards Tests) – This type of test is the one that is administered to most children in California; therefore, these tests are developed by educators and test developers who are from California.  They are intended to measure how children are progressing in school and if they are being effectively taught the state mandated standards in math, science, history/social science, and English/language arts.  All children from 2nd grade to 11th grade take the multiple choice CST, while students in 4th and 7th grade must also take the CST writing assessment.  The idea behind the test is that if your child is being taught everything that the California standards mandate, he or she should perform well on the CST.
  • CMA (California Modified Assessment) – This test is used for students who have an individualized education program (IEP) that states that they have to take the CMA, and who, although may be receiving grade-level instruction, are almost certainly not going to get grade-level proficiency.  The purpose for this type of test is to measure the progress of children with disabilities and to see if their schools and the state are meeting the requirements and teaching these students the appropriate and necessary information.  Like the CST, all children who are eligible to take the CMA take the multiple-choice CMA from 2nd grade to 11th grade and the CMA writing assessment in 4th and 7th grade.
  • CAPA (California Alternate Performance Assessment) – The CAPA is intended for students who have substantial cognitive disabilities and, because of that, are unable to take the CST’s and CMA’s even with accommodations or modifications.  These tests are meant to measure the progress of these students.
  • STS (Standard-based Tests in Spanish) – The STS’s are tests that are taken by Spanish-speaking English learners.  These students are also required to take the CST’s and/or the CMA’s depending on their cognitive abilities.  If students are performing well on the CST’s or CMA’s, they may later be reclassified as fluent English proficient (R-FEP).

If you feel that your child’s grades could improve, please be sure to give us a call or email us.  We’ll be happy to meet with you and your child and help improve your child’s grades and understanding of the class lectures.

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