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CalEdFacts: Standardized Testing and Reporting - CalEdFacts

This content is part of California Department of Education's information and media guide about education in the State of California. For similar information on other topics, visit the full CalEdFacts.

The Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program became inoperative on July 1, 2013. The STAR program was replaced by the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) system.

The STAR Program for 2010–11 has four components:

  • California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA)—The CAPA is an alternate performance assessment to the CSTs in English-language arts (ELA), mathematics, and science. It is an individually administered assessment for pupils with significant cognitive disabilities who have an individualized education program (IEP).
  • California Modified Assessment (CMA)—The CMA is an alternate assessment to the CSTs in ELA, mathematics, and science for eligible pupils who have an IEP and meet the CMA eligibility criteria adopted by the SBE.
  • California Standards Tests (CST)—The CSTs are criterion-referenced tests that assess the California content standards in ELA, mathematics, science, and history-social science.
  • Standards-based Tests in Spanish (STS)—The STS are criterion-referenced tests aligned to the California content standards for reading/language arts and mathematics.

All pupils, including English learners (ELs) and pupils in special education programs, must participate in the STAR program.

  • In 1999, the CSTs in ELA and mathematics for grades two through eleven became part of the STAR Program.
  • In 2001, standards tests in history-social science and science for grades nine through eleven were added.
  • Also added in 2001 were writing tests for grades four and seven, requiring pupils to write an essay in response to an assigned task.
  • In 2003, the grade nine history-social science CST was replaced with a grade eight history-social science CST.
  • In 2004, a grade five science CST was added to the program.
  • In 2006, a grade eight science CST and a grade ten life science CST were added to the program.

The State Board of Education (SBE) approved five performance levels for reporting STAR results: advanced, proficient, basic, below basic, and far below basic. Performance levels describe pupil achievement on the California content standards. Individual pupil and group results are reported using scaled scores and performance levels.

School, district, county, and state-level reports, disaggregated by pupils’ English–language fluency, gender, economic status, and disability status must be distributed to district and county officials by the CDE and posted on the CDE Web site by August 15 of each year. Individual written reports of pupil performance for the STAR Program must be provided to parents within 20 working days after districts have received the reports.

To assist parents, guardians, and school districts with understanding the STAR Program and interpreting pupils’ results, informational packages are available on the CDE STAR Web page. For more information regarding the STAR Program, please contact the STAR Office in the Assessment, Accountability, and Awards Division at 916-445-8765 or by e-mail at [Note: the preceeding contact information is no longer valid and has been replaced with California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office at 916-445-8765 or by e-mail at]

In 1997, the Legislature established the STAR Program, which required that the SBE designate a norm-referenced test for grades two through eleven. The Legislature additionally declared its intent that the designated norm-referenced test be augmented with items that assess specific content standards adopted by the SBE.

In 1999, the Legislature required that the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI), with approval of the SBE, provide for the development of an assessment instrument that would measure the degree to which pupils in grades two through eleven were achieving California’s content standards and stipulated that this assessment include a direct writing component be administered once in elementary school and once in middle or junior high school.

In 2001, the Legislature required that the SSPI, with approval of the SBE, provide for achievement tests that were fully standards-based in ELA, mathematics, science, and history-social science. These tests are the CSTs.

In 2002, the Legislature required that an alternate assessment be developed and administered to individuals with exceptional needs who are unable to participate in the statewide testing program even with accommodations. This alternate assessment is the CAPA.

In 2004, the Legislature reauthorized the STAR Program. The reauthorization required that the CSTs in grades three through eleven be administered through 2011; that the CST in grade two be administered through 2008; and that the STAR Program’s norm-referenced test be administered only in grades three and seven through 2011.

Also in 2004, Senate Bill 1448 amended California Education Code Section 60640 to require the development of an achievement test in the most common primary language of ELs (Spanish) that is aligned to California content standards for reading/language arts and mathematics. These tests are the STS. The STS are now administered in place of the designated primary language test (formerly the Aprenda 3).

In 2005, Senate Bill 755 changed the requirements for pupils taking a designated primary language test. In addition to taking the designated STAR tests in English, Spanish-speaking ELs who either receive instruction in their primary language or have been enrolled in a school in the United States for less than 12 months are required to take a primary language test designated by the SBE. At the option of the school districts, other Spanish-speaking ELs may also be tested.

In 2007, new legislation, Senate Bill 80, was passed to continue grade two testing past 2008. In 2008, Assembly Bill 519 removed the norm-referenced test (currently the California Achievement Tests, Sixth Edition Survey) from the STAR Program.

In 2010, the STAR Program was extended by legislation to become inoperative on July 1, 2013.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Monday, February 23, 2015

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