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What Does the STAR Exam Involve?

What Does the STAR Exam Involve?

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - May 18th, 2013

STAR Stands for Standardized Testing And Reporting

California’s STAR program, standing for Standardized Testing And Reporting, is a set of standardized tests designed to ensure a quality education for all California students. The STAR exam is given in the spring of each school year to students in grades two through eleven.

What is Tested?

Depending on your child’s grade, different subjects are tested in the STAR exam battery. Children in grades two through eleven are tested on ELA (English Language Arts) and math. Grades four through seven, in addition to English language arts and math, are tested on writing skills as part of their ELA battery.

During grades five through eleven, science is added to the STAR exam battery, along with the aforementioned subjects.

Students in grades nine, ten and eleven face an additional subject. English language arts, math and science are still tested, with the addition of history-social science (often called social studies). You can read an overview of the STAR exam at

Testing Goals

As with most standardized tests, the goal of the STAR exam is to help ensure a standard of education for each student. The tested subjects were chosen because they are widely regarded as ‘core’ subjects, meaning that a firm grasp of them is vital to success in the world after high school.

Since the phenomenon of students ‘falling through the cracks’ of the education system has long been a widely recognized issue, the STAR exam attempts to remedy this situation as well. Testing students at nearly every grade level helps to ensure that if a student is struggling, the issue can be brought to the attention of parents and teachers. If necessary, appropriate steps such as remedial classes, tutoring or extra at-home study can be implemented in order to bring the student up to the level of her peers. The STAR exam is intended to be used in conjunction with the California High School Exit Exam as a method of ensuring that each graduating senior has the skills necessary to thrive in college or the workforce.

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