This week, every student at Immaculate Conception will be taking the STAR test. Although we have used this test for years, you may have some questions about the test.
Before we get into understanding the STAR test itself, we need to know what the test is. The STAR test is a short – generally 25 to 35 minutes – adaptive test that provides teachers with information about how the students are learning. An adaptive test asks more challenging questions as a student answers correctly. It also asks easier questions if a student answers incorrectly. Think of it this way, if I asked you to pick a number between 1 to 100, you might choose 50. If I said it was higher, you would pick 75. If I said the number was lower than 75, then next number you would pick would be 63. You would continue this process until you got to the correct number. The STAR test works in a similar fashion. If a student answers correctly, it asks a harder question. If a student misses a question, it asks an easier question. This is the way STAR can offer reliable results in a short amount of time.
After the children take the tests, the teachers will look over the data to determine what a student already knows and areas where a student needs some help. This is beneficial to the student because the teaching is directed toward what the students need. At the beginning of the second quarter, students will take the STAR test again. We can use those results to ensure that students are making adequate academic growth.
I am often asked how to prepare a student for this test. The STAR test is not one you can really study for. There are thousands of different questions it could ask on a single standard. Because it asks more difficult questions as students answer correctly, there will be topics a student has not seen before. This is perfectly normal. A student cannot fail a STAR test. To help children prepare, you can explain the importance of these tests and encourage their best work.