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About STAR 2004

Program Background  |  STAR Reports
Grades & Subjects Reported

The 2004 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program included four components:

  • California Standards Tests (CST)
  • California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA)
  • California Achievement Tests, Sixth Edition Survey (CAT/6 Survey)
  • Spanish Assessment of Basic Education, Second Edition (SABE/2)

California Standards Tests (CSTs)
The California Standards Tests in English-language arts, mathematics, science, and history-social science are administered only to students in California public schools. Except for a writing component that is administered as part of the grade four and seven English-language arts tests, all questions are multiple choice. These tests were developed specifically to assess students' knowledge of the California content standards. The State Board of Education adopted these standards that specify what all California children are expected to know and be able to do in each grade or course. The 2004 CSTs were required for students who were enrolled in the following grades/courses at the time of testing or who had completed a course during the 2003-04 school year, including 2003 summer school.

All Students in Grades 2 - 11 English-Language Arts
All Students in Grades 2 - 9 Mathematics
All Students in Grade 5 Science
Grade 8 - 11 students who completed Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or Integrated Mathematics 1, 2, or 3
Grade 8 and 9 students who did not complete one of the above math courses during the school year General Mathematics
Grade 9 and 10 students who completed Algebra II or Integrated Mathematics 3 during the previous grade and grade 11 students who completed Algebra II or Integrated Mathematics 3 anytime before 2004 testing began, including students taking higher mathematics courses or no mathematics course Summative High School Mathematics
All Students in Grades 8, 10, and 11 History-Social Science
Grade 9 - 11 students who completed Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Integrated/Coordinated Science Courses

English-Language Arts
The grade two and three California English-Language Arts Standards Tests each have 65 multiple-choice questions. The tests for grades five, six, and eight through eleven each have 75 multiple-choice questions. During 2004, the grade four and seven California English Language Arts Standards Tests included 75 multiple-choice questions plus a writing sample. For the writing component, students were required to write an essay for an assigned topic. Grade four students read an informational article and wrote summaries of the article. Grade seven students wrote persuasive essays for a topic they were assigned. The types of writing used for the writing component of the test change from year to year and are based on the California Writing Application Content Standards. Grade four students may be required to write a narrative, a summary of information, or a response to literature. Grade seven students may be required to write a fictional or autobiographical narrative, a response to literature, a persuasive essay, or a summary of information. Two readers independently score each studentís paper using a four-point scoring guide. The two readers' scores are added to the 75 multiple-choice questions, resulting in a maximum score of 83 points possible for the English-language arts test at these two grades.

Mathematics
The California Mathematics Standards Tests are grade specific for grades two through seven. Each of these tests has 65 multiple-choice questions. The California Mathematics Standards Tests for grades eight through eleven also have 65 multiple-choice questions.

  • All students in grades eight and nine who had not yet completed or were not enrolled in discipline specific, standards-based math courses or who were enrolled in the first year of a multi-year Algebra I course were required to take the General Mathematics CST. This test assesses the California Mathematics Standards for grades six and seven.
  • Students in grades eight through eleven who had completed or were enrolled in discipline specific, standards-based math courses took California Mathematics Standards Tests in Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or Integrated Mathematics 1, 2, or 3.
  • Students in grades nine and ten who had completed Algebra II or Integrated Mathematics 3 during a previous school year and grade eleven students who completed one of these two courses anytime prior to the beginning of testing were required to take the Summative High School Mathematics CST. This included students who were taking higher mathematics courses or no mathematics course.
     

History-Social Science
Students in grades eight, ten, and eleven took California History-Social Science Standards Tests. The grade eight test had 75 multiple-choice questions, and the grade ten and eleven tests each had 60 multiple-choice questions. These tests assess:

  • Grade 8-a cumulative test of the grade 6 (Ancient Civilizations) and grade 7 (Medieval and Early Modern Times) world history standards, as well as grade 8 United States History and Geography: Growth and Conflict
  • Grade 10-World History, Culture, and Geography: The Modern World
  • Grade 11-United States History and Geography: Continuity and Change in the Twentieth Century
     

Science
The Grade Five California Science Standards Test was administered for the first time to all students enrolled in fifth grade. This test assesses studentsí knowledge of the California Grade Four and Five Science Content Standards.

The science tests for grades nine through eleven were based on course-specific standards. Only grade nine through eleven students who were enrolled in or completed a standards-based science course took a test. Tests were administered for the following standards-based courses:

  • Earth Science
  • Biology/Life Science
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Integrated/Coordinated Science 1, 2, 3 and 4 (four test forms, each assessing specific standards for biology/life science, chemistry, earth science, and physics)

Teachers of integrated/coordinated science courses were to use the test blueprints and select the Integrated/Coordinated Science Test that most closely matched their course content. During the 2002-03 school year, teachers of integrated/coordinated science courses were asked to begin aligning their course content with one or more of the test blueprints as appropriate.

CST scores are reported as one of five performance levels from advanced to far below basic. The scores are used for calculating each schoolís Academic Performance Index (API). The CST results comprise 80% of the weight for grade two through eight API calculations and 73% of the weight for grade nine through eleven API calculations. Only the results of the California English-Language Arts and Mathematics Standards Tests are used to determine the progress elementary and middle schools are making toward meeting the federal No Child Left Behind adequate yearly progress requirement of having all students score at proficient or above on the these tests.

For further information about the CST scores, go to Term and Score Explanations.

California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA)

Students with significant cognitive disabilities who are unable to take the CSTs and CAT/6 Survey participate in the STAR Program by taking the CAPA. Alternate assessments are required by two federal laws, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The CAPA is an individually administered performance assessment with all tasks linked to the California English-Language Arts and Mathematics Content Standards. Special educators in California identified subsets of standards on which it is appropriate to assess students with moderate to severe disabilities.

The CAPA is organized into five levels, representing specific grade spans. Most students eligible for the CAPA take the level corresponding to their grade placement. These students are expected to move through the CAPA levels as they progress in age. Some students with complex, profound disabilities may be eligible for Level I. These students remain in Level I and are not expected to move through the other CAPA levels.

  • Level I  
Students in grades 2-11 (those with the most complex, profound disabilities)
  • Level II
Students in grades 2 and 3
  • Level III
Students in grades 4 and 5
  • Level IV
Students in grades 6 Ė 8
  • Level V
Students in grades 9 Ė 11

Students taking the CAPA were given eight (8) tasks to complete for each of the two content areas. A trained certificated or licensed examiner (usually the student's teacher) individually administered the assessment. The examiner scored the assessment by observing the studentís response and recording the studentís score using a specific scoring guide. If needed, the examiner could adapt the assessment tasks to make them accessible for students with a wide range of disabilities. Adaptations might have included signing the directions for a student with a hearing impairment or providing tactile materials for a student with a visual impairment.


CAPA scores are reported as one of five performance levels from advanced to far below basic. While the CAPA performance levels have the same labels as those used for the CSTs, they are defined differently and are based on a different scaled score range.



California Achievement Tests, Sixth Edition Survey (CAT/6 Survey)
In April 2002, the State Board of Education designated the CAT/6 Survey, published by CTB/McGraw-Hill, to replace the Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition (Stanford 9) as the national norm-referenced test for the STAR Program. The Stanford 9 was used from 1998 through 2002. Like the Stanford 9, the questions on the CAT/6 Survey are unchanged from year to year. The CAT/6 Survey is a shortened version of the test. The survey version is used to minimize the testing time required for the norm-referenced component of the STAR Program.

Students in grades 2 through 11 were tested in reading, language, and mathematics. Students in grades 2 through 8 were also tested in spelling. Students in grades 9 through 11 were tested in science. The purpose of administering the CAT/6 Survey is to determine how well each California student is achieving academically compared to a national sample of students tested in the same grade at the same time of the school year.


Reviewers should make no direct comparisons between the Stanford 9 and CAT/6 Survey results because the test series are published by two different companies, were developed at different times, and use different national groups of students as the comparison groups.

Spanish Assessment of Basic Education, Second Edition (SABE/2)
The SABE/2, published by CTB/McGraw-Hill, is a national norm-referenced achievement test in Spanish. The test battery includes tests of Spanish reading, language, and spelling, as well as mathematics tests in Spanish. Spanish-speaking English learners (limited-English proficient students) who had been enrolled in California public schools less than 12 months when testing began were required to take the SABE/2 in addition to taking the CSTs and CAT/6 Survey. Districts had the option of administering the SABE/2 to Spanish-speaking English learners who had been in California public schools 12 months or more.
 



California Department of Education

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