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California Achievement Test

California Achievement Test

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - April 28th, 2014

Having been used state-wide since 1998, the California achievement test is known by several names, including the STAR exam, STAR test and the Standardized Testing and Reporting examination. The goal of the California achievement test is simple – quality education for all students. The test attempts to achieve this goal by testing students on an annual basis, beginning in grade two. The tests run through grade eleven, with graduating seniors instead taking the California High School Exit Examination.

The California achievement test focuses on several subjects which are considered to be ‘core’ fields. These include English language arts, math, science and history-social science. Certain subjects are added and removed at age appropriate intervals. For example, students in grades two through eleven receive the English language arts and math test batteries. Students in grades four through seven are also tested in writing. Beginning in grade five, a science test is added, and students in grades nine and above are also tested on history-social science.

The purpose of annual testing and reporting is to combat the distressing issue of children ‘falling through the cracks.’ There are two main results of this phenomenon. If a child exhibits struggles or difficulties in certain subject in a lower grade but is not given the chance to improve, they are likely to develop shame regarding their difficulty, hide it until it becomes obvious and require remedial classes. These students, as a result of their difficulties, have also proved to be more prone to developing behavioral issues. High school seniors graduating with a lack of core knowledge is another aspect which the California achievement test attempts to address. By testing at each grade level, it is hoped that by the time a senior takes the California High School Exit Examination they will have fully absorbed and gotten the full benefit of their high school education. Students without a firm grasp of these core subjects are likely to have difficulties after graduation. Employers and college professors alike have a certain set of expectations, and if a student can’t meet those expectations they are much more likely to remain unemployed and drop out of college. For a more in-depth look at the California achievement test, visit this site.

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