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posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - July 17th, 2014

If you’ve been parenting school age children in California for a while, you probably already know all about the CDE STAR test. If you’re a newcomer to the state, however, or if your young child is about to start school, the California Department of Education’s STAR test may be new territory for you. Here, we’ll review the testing basics, as well as provide a link for practice questions to help your child prepare.

What is the CDE STAR Test?

In place since 1998, the CDE STAR test is an academic program based on standardized testing. STAR tests are administered at each grade level, beginning in grade two and continuing on through grade eleven.

Different subjects are tested each year, with respect to age and learning level. Students in grades two through eleven all receive the English language arts (ELA) and math portions of the CDE STAR test battery. Students in grades four through seven will find writing skills integrated into the ELA portion. Grades five and above are also tested on science, while those in grades nine through eleven are tested on history-social science (also known as social studies).

Tests are given each year in the spring. Testing dates are rather strict; the test must be administered within ten days (in either direction) of 85% completion of the school year. You can find a thorough, in-depth description of the program and testing at

Goals of the CDE STAR Test

The ultimate end goals of the CDE STAR test and the California High School Exit Examination are the same – quality education standards. These tests are in place to ensure that each child is learning and performing at an acceptable level for their age group and grade. The tests can be used to determine if remedial classes, tutoring or intensive home study is necessary in a certain subject area. With regular testing and a final test before graduation, the CDE strives for high school graduates fully equipped to thrive in today’s competitive academic and working worlds.

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