The ABCs of the state’s standardized testing program

Every spring, California students in grades 2 through 11 take a series of tests that make up the state's Standardized Testing and Reporting, or STAR, program.

Overall test results are released to the public for each school, district, county and the state every August. Scores were posted Tuesday on the Web at www.star.cde.ca.gov.

Results of the tests are used as barometers of progress for individual schools, districts and the state, and schools that do not show adequate progress face possible state or federal penalties.

Under the federal education law No Child Left Behind, struggling schools must show test score improvement or their districts face an escalating list of sanctions, which include providing students with the option to switch schools and paying for after-school tutoring.

At the end of this month, an overall score for each school will be released that measures the Adequate Yearly Progress mandated by the federal government. If a school fails to make significant progress after five years, the district is required to restructure the school, which may include reopening it as a charter school, replacing most or all of the school staff or turning operations of the school over to the state or a private company.

The main exam in the STAR program, the California Standards Test is aligned with the state’s academic content standards for each grade.

Students in all grades take tests in math and English; science, history and social science are also tested in the secondary grades. Individual student scores are reported only to parents and teachers.

beslinger@examiner.com

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