If you are wondering why a bunch of 7 year old kids in Santa Clara near the Cupertino border look to have a sense of relief, it's because Cupertino Union School District's Eisenhower Elementary 2nd graders just completed their STAR tests this past week.
Each spring, all students in California from grades two through eleven take the state's Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) exams, a battery of standardized tests.
The California STAR Program looks at how well schools and students are performing. Based on STAR tests and the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), California assigns an Academic Performance Index (API) rating and growth target to each school and district. Ratings range from 200 to 1000, with a goal of 800 API for all schools statewide.
The STAR Program includes four tests: the California Standards Tests, the California Modified Assessment, the California Alternate Performance Assessment, and the Standards-based Tests in Spanish.
The STAR program used to include the California Achievement Test, Sixth Edition Survey (CAT/6), but this test was eliminated in the 2008-2009 school year.
The test taken by the majority of students is the California Standards Tests (CST).
In 2nd grade through 11th grade, the CST covers English-language arts. In 2nd grade through 7th grade, the test also covers math.
Additional tests are added at various grade levels. The CST adds a history-social science test for 8th grade, 10th grade and 11th grade. The CST adds a science test for 5th grade, 8th grade, and 10th grade. The CST also adds a math and science test for students in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade. The test they take depends on which math and science course they are enrolled in that school year, such as algebra, geometry, physics, or chemistry.
The STAR - CalEdFacts page provides a more detailed overview of the program.
For more information, you can also visit California Department of Education Testing and Accountability.