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California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program


The Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program measures performance of students undergoing primary and secondary education in California. It was replaced in late 2013-early 2014 with the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), also known as the Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress (MAPP).

The 2012 STAR Program included four components:

The CSTs show how well students are doing in relation to the state content standards. The CMA is an alternate assessment of the California content standards based on modified achievement standards for children with an individualized education program (IEP) who meet the eligibility criteria adopted by the State Board of Education. Spanish-speaking English learners who are receiving instruction in Spanish are required to take the STS, as are Spanish-speaking English learners who had been enrolled in school in the United States less than 12 months when testing began; school districts have the option of administering the STS to Spanish-speaking English learners who had been enrolled in school in the United States 12 months or more who were not receiving instruction in Spanish. The CAPA is an individually administered assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities whose disabilities preclude them from taking the CSTs and CAT/6 Survey even with modifications.

Each spring, California students in grades 2 through 11 must take a series of tests that comprise the state's STAR program. These must be completed 10 days before or after 85% of a school's year has passed. The California Standards Tests (CSTs) are designed to match the state's academic content standards for each grade. Grades 2 through 8 tests cover mathematics and English/language arts (which includes writing in grades 4 and 7). Grades 9 through 11 cover English/language arts, mathematics, and science. History-social science tests are added for grades 8, 10 and 11 as well as science for grades 5 and 8. Except for writing, all questions are multiple-choice.

The California Achievement Test, Sixth Edition (CAT/6), shows how well students are doing compared to students nationally in reading, language, spelling, and mathematics in grades 3 and 7 only.

California's school accountability system was originally based solely on scores from the CAT/6. Through the Academic Performance Index (API), the scores drove the allocation of millions of dollars in intervention and award programs, depending on the health of the state’s budget. (The state has not funded award or intervention programs based on 2002 or 2003 test scores.)



  • California Standards Tests (CSTs)
  • California Modified Assessment (CMA)
  • California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA)
  • Standards-based Tests in Spanish (STS)
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