2013-2014 likely to mark last of STAR Program

Source: California Department of Education

On August 8, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the results of the 2013 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) assessments, reporting that scores slipped by a fraction of a percentage point this year as schools dealt with ongoing budget reductions and the transition to the Common Core State Standards.

Students managed to hold on to the vast majority of gains posted over the last 11 years, with a majority of students statewide continuing to achieve at the proficient or advanced level in mathematics and English-language arts. Only one student in three achieved proficiency in 2003, the year that the STAR tests became fully aligned with the former state content standards.

“As you would expect for a school system in transition, results varied from grade to grade, subject to subject, and school to school, but the big picture is one of remarkable resilience despite the challenges,” Torlakson said. “While we all want to see California’s progress continue, these results show that in the midst of change and uncertainty, teachers and schools kept their focus on students and learning. That’s a testament to the depth of their commitment to their students and the future of our state.”

Statewide, 51.2% of students posted a score of proficient or above in mathematics, which was slightly lower than last year. In science, 59.1% scored at least proficient, again slightly lower than last year. The percentage of students scoring proficient or above rose slightly for second and fourth graders, as well as for students taking Algebra I. There were declines among third graders, seventh graders, and high school students taking Geometry, Algebra II, and Integrated Mathematics 1. The performance of 5th and 6th graders scoring at least proficient was unchanged from last year, as was the performance of students taking General Mathematics or the Summative High School Mathematics assessment.

Torlakson noted that with large-scale field testing of new computer-based assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards proposed for the coming school year, this year’s results likely mark the last use of the STAR program statewide.

“As valuable as STAR has been, we’re getting ready to raise the bar in California’s schools,” Torlakson said. “This coming year, many students will have their first chance to try tests that measure their preparation for college and the world of work. That’s a huge challenge for every part of our education system–but one we have to tackle to give every student the opportunity to prepare for a bright future.”

Full results can be found on the California Department of Education (CDE) Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Results Web page (http://star.cde.ca.gov/).

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