Our Turn: STAR Testing
STAR testing tests students in different categories based on their classes and location. The subjects are English, math, and early literacy. What is STAR testing? STAR testing is a ‘computer adaptive’ assessment that helps teachers monitor each student’s reading and math levels throughout the year. It also helps teachers see which students need extra help. A computer adaptive test adapts to the student’s responses. As the student answers, the questions either get harder or easier based on whether the student answers correctly. STAR tests provide three types of scores; scaled scores, criteria-on-referenced scores, and norm-referenced scores. Scaled scores are used to put all the scores on one common scale, making them easier to compare and read. Criteria-on-referenced scores measure what a student knows or can do, their knowledge, skills and abilities. Norm-referenced scores compare a student’s test results to the results of students who have already taken the test.
At NCSS, STAR testing is used for instructional planning. In NCSS high school advisories there are five reading groups of all different levels. They range from middle school to college level. Our goal at NCSS is for 100 percent of our students to make one year’s growth on the test. We take the tests at least three times a year, making it easy for students and teachers to monitor their progress.
“STAR testing is one of the only standardized tests that I like, it puts me in the math and reading groups I need to be in,” says student Zack Severt, an 8th grader at NCSS.
Another NCSS student, 10th grader Jamie Halbman says, “STAR testing can be very useful in gauging where we are as a school, and it also helps individual students see where they need improvement and where they excel. For reading groups, I think the testing puts me in a place that I am challenged a lot. I can read and understand the text just fine, but can I make ways to engage other students to think about the story at a high level? It’s been an interesting task so far. As for the STAR Math Tests, I can tell by my scores that I’m not bad at math, and that my math group has been helping. One thing is for sure: The tests tell me I could go for more geometry in my school diet!”
STAR testing is great practice for students for when they have to take standardized tests for their careers later in life.