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California STAR testing simplified part 2

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In the first article on this topic, it was explained that the upcoming STAR testing is occurring in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District between April 11, 2011 and May 16, 2011. There are many different dimensions to this assessment.

The CST refers to the California Standards Test, which is what most students take. The CAPA is the California Alternate Performance Assessment which many special education students take that are not ready, or able, to take assessments that involve more response on their part. The CMA is the California Modified Assessment that is primarily used for special education resource students that accommodates a friendlier version of the same skills on the CST. There is also the STS, or Standards-Based Test in Spanish.

Phew! If you think there that’s lots of terminology, it’s just the beginning! In the previous article we discussed API, which stands for Academic Performance Index. This was put into place in 1999 within the state of California and is based primarily on results of the STAR test, and figured annually.

Where it really gets complicated, is when you throw federal programs into the mix. In 2002, NCLB was established, which is a federal accounting system and stands for No Child Left Behind. The federal measure is called AYP, which means Adequate Yearly Progress, which is also determined from the English Language Arts and Math sections of the STAR exams. Federal funding hinges upon the results of these exams as well.

No pressure. In these tight economical times when large amounts of funding are being cut, you can bet that teachers, and schools in general, are scrambling to teach students everything they can. Over the past 7 years, Mt. Diablo USD has been successful in raising their scores significantly. Do you think it matters if students are out of school to take mid-year vacations? You bet it does. Does it matter if students are up late watching movies or playing video games? Again, it matters a great deal!

Unfortunately, in our educational system, public or private, whoever has the most money gets the most. The most means more technology from which to teach and reach our children. It means the most materials to draw from. These things don’t just matter to the adults working with kids. They matter to kids, our most valuable commodity! So please, make sure your child is well prepared. Each and every child makes a difference!