STAR Program — Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program?
It is the cornerstone of the California assessment system. It was designed to primarily help measure how well students are achieving the California academic standards in English-Language Arts, Mathematics, History-Social Science, and Science.
All students in grades 2-11 participate in this annual test each spring.
How are these tests useful to parents/guardians?
They provide parents/guardians with information about their child's progress, are a tool for helping parents and teachers work together to improve student learning, help schools and districts identify strengths and areas that need improvement in their programs, and allow the public and policymakers to hold public schools accountable for student learning.
What types of questions are on the test?
Most of the questions presented on these tests are in multiple-choice format. This means that students are presented with a question and are asked to select the correct answer from four or five possible choices. Students mark their answers in a test book for grades 2-3 and on an answer document for grades 4-11. For the English-language arts CST, students in grades 4 and 7 write a composition essay in response to a writing task (prompt).
Can the parent see the student's test?
Parents/guardians cannot see the tests in the STAR program. Test questions can only be seen by the student taking the test.
How do we help students who need special assistance?
Certain accommodations and modifications can be made for this test. Both accommodations and modifications must be specified in that student's IEP.
What kinds of score reports will parents/guardians receive?
All parents/guardians of students who participate in the STAR program will receive a score report that shows how well their student is meeting the academic standards for each subject tested. Schools are expected to mail the reports to the student's home no later than 20 working days after the district receives them.
Parents should receive their scores no later than October 1 of the next school year.
How are STAR results used?
The STAR Program results are used to comply with federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation that requires that all schools meet specific academic goals. The progress of each school toward achieving these goals is provided annually in an Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report. Each year, California schools must meet AYP goals or risk program status.
Do some students take subject specific tests?
YES! Students in grades 7-11 will take math tests and students in grades 9-11 will take science and history-social science tests that are directly linked to their course of study (i.e., Algebra I, Geometry, Biology, Chemistry, etc). To gain more information about the specifics of these tests, go to