About STAR 2006
The governor signed Senate Bill 376 authorizing the Standardized Testing and
Reporting (STAR) Program in October 1997. The State Board of Education, as
required by statute, designated the Stanford Achievement Test Series, Ninth
Edition (Stanford 9) as the national norm-referenced achievement tests for the
Program. These tests were first administered to students in grades two through
eleven in California public schools during spring 1998 and were last
administered as part of the STAR Program during spring 2002. School districts
were required to administer the tests to all students in grades two through
eleven except for:
Students who were receiving special education services with individualized
education programs (IEPs) that specified that the students were to have an
alternate assessment, and
Students whose parents/guardians submitted written requests to exempt the
students from testing.
Students in grades two through eleven were tested in reading, language, and
mathematics. Students in grades two through eight were also tested in spelling,
and students in grades nine through eleven were tested in science and social
science. All questions on the tests were multiple choice. The purpose of the
Stanford 9 was to compare each student’s achievement of general skills taught
throughout the United States to the achievement of a national sample of
students tested in the same grade at the same time of the school year.
In 1998, the State Board of Education designated the Spanish Assessment of
Basic Education, Second Edition (SABE/2) as the primary language test for the
Program. Beginning in spring 1999, Spanish-speaking English learners who were
enrolled in California public schools less than 12 months when testing began
were required to take the SABE/2, as well as taking the Stanford 9 and the
Stanford 9 Augmentation/California Standards Tests (CSTs). Districts were given
the option of also testing Spanish-speaking English learners enrolled in California
public schools 12 months or more with the SABE/2.
During the 1998–99 school year, multiple-choice questions were developed
specifically to assess the California English-Language Arts and Mathematics
Content Standards. These questions that were initially referred to as the
Stanford 9 Augmentation were administered for the first time during spring
1999. Students received California Standards Test scores based on questions selected
from the Stanford 9 tests and the California-specific questions. The California
Standards Tests (CSTs) then evolved during the next several years.
||Stand-alone mathematics CSTs that used no Stanford 9 questions
developed for grades 8–11
||Stand-alone history-social science and science CSTs developed and
administered in grades 9–11
Writing component added to the grade 4 and 7 English-Language Arts CSTs
Performance levels reported for English-Language Arts CSTs
||Performance levels reported for all CSTs
The grade 4 and 7 writing components combined with the multiple-choice
components to produce the English-Language Arts CST scores
||Grade 9 History-Social Science CST moved to grade 8
All CSTs administered as stand-alone tests
||Grade 5 Science CST added
||Grade 8 Science and Grade 10 Life Science CSTs added
The purpose of the CSTs is to determine students’ achievement of the California Content Standards for each grade or course. Students’ scores are compared to preset criteria to determine if the students’ performance on the test is advanced, proficient, basic, below basic, or far below basic. The state target is for all students to score at the proficient and advanced levels.
The legislature reauthorized the STAR Program during 2002, and the State Board of Education selected the California Achievement Tests, Sixth Edition Survey (CAT/6 Survey) to replace the Stanford 9 as the national norm-referenced test for the Program beginning with the spring 2003 test administration. The State Board also authorized the development of the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA), an individually administered assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities whose disabilities preclude them from taking the CSTs and CAT/6 Survey even with modifications. The CAPA assesses the California English-Language Arts and Mathematics Content Standards that were identified as appropriate for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The CAPA was first administered during spring 2003.
During 2005, the State Board of Education designated the Aprenda: La prueba de logros en
español, Tercera edición (Aprenda 3) to replace the Spanish Assessment of Basic Education,
Second Edition (SABE/2) as the designated primary language test (DPLT) for the STAR Program. Beginning in
spring 2006, Spanish-speaking English learners (limited-English proficient students) who were receiving
instruction in Spanish or who had been enrolled in school in the United States less than 12 months when
testing began were required to take the Aprenda 3 in addition to taking the CSTs and the CAT/6 Survey.
Districts had the option of administering the Aprenda 3 to Spanish-speaking English learners who had been
enrolled in school in the United States 12 months or more who were not receiving instruction in Spanish.
The changes were from new state laws that became effective on January 1, 2006.
The 2006 STAR Program included four components:
- California Standards Tests (CSTs)
- California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA)
- California Achievement Tests, Sixth Edition Survey (CAT/6 Survey) — grades 3 and 7
- Aprenda: La prueba de logros en español, Tercera edición (Aprenda 3)
The governor signed legislation reauthorizing the STAR Program through 2011 during August 2004.
The reauthorized program reduced the CAT/6 Survey to grades three and seven. No other changes
affected the spring 2005 administration.
The CSTs are a major component of California’s accountability system for schools and
districts. CST and CAPA results are the major component used for calculating each
school’s Academic Performance Index (API). These results are also used for determining
if elementary and middle schools are making adequate yearly progress (AYP) in helping all
students become proficient on the state’s content standards as required by the
federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. Schools use CST results to identify seniors
eligible for the California Golden State Seal Merit Diploma. The eligibility requirements
for the diploma are posted at