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The California STAR

The California STAR

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - September 12th, 2013

Why is the STAR Exam Important?

California’s standardized testing system, the STAR exam (Standardized Testing and Reporting), is a test battery designed to ensure that each student receives a quality education. You can read a synopsis of the exam at


Together with the California High School Exit Examination, the STAR exam strives to ensure quality education at each step of a student’s academic career. Students are administered the STAR exam in grades two through eleven, with different subjects being added or removed along the way. In all, tested subjects include ELA (English language arts), math, science, history-social science and writing.

When combined with the California High School Exit Examination, the STAR exam provides students, teachers and parents with a well-rounded picture of how a student is progressing. Annual testing allows difficulties to be tackled as soon as they appear, rather than being brushed off and allowed to worsen. If a difficulty is identified, parents and teachers can work together to determine the best course of action, whether it involves temporary remedial class placement, tutoring or extra at-home study.

By the time they reach graduation, it is the goal of both exams that students will have absorbed a thorough working knowledge of each tested core subject. A mastery of these subjects is widely regarded to be crucial to a student’s success after high school graduation, regardless of whether their next step involves college or the workforce.

Unfortunately, many high school seniors graduation without a working knowledge of these core subjects, putting them at a huge disadvantage in college classrooms and with future employers.


With the new Common Core test battery coming into use, the STAR exam is set to be phased out in 2014. Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, the Common Core will replace the STAR exam in California schools. Notable additions to testing include the writing of essays and computer projects, areas which are not tested as part of the STAR exam battery.

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