STAR: Appropriate Grade Level Analysis
Note: If you would like a related handout for this lesson, open this file: http://illuminateed.com/Guide-AnalyzingSTAR.pdf
Each STAR CMA, CST, and STS (abbreviations at bottom) question is devoted to measuring student performance on a particular state content standard (and CAPA tasks assess performance on sets of state content standards). However, CST scores should be the focus when evaluating an instructional programs success since the CST is the main component of the STAR Program and most closely aligned with state content standards.
When a student takes a CMA, CST, or STS, he or she receives a raw score (number of items correct) for each content cluster and also for the test as a whole. This raw score can also be translated into percent correct for content clusters, but not for the test as a whole. When a student takes a CAPA, he or she receives a raw score (total of scores earned on tasks) only for the test as a whole. The raw score for the overall test is transformed into a scale score (also called scaled score) through an equating process that allows a test (same subject, same grade level, etc.) to represent the same level of difficulty from one year to the next.
Scale scores translate into proficiency levels (Far Below Basic, Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced), which also represent the same level of difficulty for the same test from one year to the next. Scale scores and proficiency levels are only available for the test as a whole, and not for content clusters. A student must score at least 350 (scale score), which equals a proficiency level of 4 (Proficient), in order to demonstrate mastery of grade level standards on a CMA, CST, or STS. A student must score at least 35 (scale score), which equals a proficiency level of 4 (Proficient), in order to demonstrate mastery of grade level standards on a CAPA.
All STAR results can be disaggregated and analyzed by subgroup and other groupings. However, groups containing more students lend themselves to more reliable analysis of an instructional program than groups containing fewer students.
Visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/resources.asp for more information on STAR tests, blueprints (featuring how questions and standards relate to strands), and released test questions (featuring how standards relate to clusters). Reference Chapter 1 of the California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Post-Test Guide available at http://www.startest.org/archive.html and California Technical Reports available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/technicalrpts.asp for more information on analyzing results.
Abbreviations and Terms
CAPA - California Alternate Performance Assessment (alternative to CST for students with severe cognitive disabilities; much easier than CST)
CDE - California Department of Education
CMA - California Modified Assessment (alternative to CST for qualifying Special Education students; much harder than CAPA but easier than CST)
CST - California Standards Test (for all students who do not qualify for the CAPA or CMA)
EAP - Early Assessment System (not a STAR test, but administered in conjunction with STAR testing), established by California State University
ELA - English-Language Arts (tested within the STAR Program for grades 2-11)
EOC - End-of-Course (secondary STAR tests based on History-Social Science, Math, and Science course rather than grade level standards)
Mean - Average (the sum of a distributions measures divided by the number of a distributions measures)
R - Rubric (scores are based on a rubric score rather than test questions)
SA - State Average (average score for all students statewide who took the given test)
SMA - State Minimally Advanced (average for students statewide who scored at the lowest scale score for advanced, which varies)
SMP - State Minimally Proficient (average for students statewide who scored at the lowest scale score for proficient, which is 350)
STAR - Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR Program includes CAPA, CMA, CST, and STS and orchestrates EAP testing)
STS - Standards-based Tests in Spanish (required for Spanish-speaking English Learners receiving instruction in Spanish or in U.S. < 1 year)