If you want to boost your home value, boost your school's API. To boost your school's API, you should start preparing your kids for the California STAR tests. Actually, the 2011-2012 school year testing has already been completed in Cupertino Union School District, so it may already be too late for this academic year. You can always prepare your kids for next year.
What kind of questions are in the STAR test? The questions in the STAR test are actually very good questions to test kids' intuition and underlying understanding of the subject matter. A student with a deeper understanding of the underlying concept will score better than a student who relies on rote memory. For example, for 2nd graders, a sample question is:
3 + 2 + 4 = 3 + 4 + [ ]
A student who relies on rote memory and doesn't understand the underlying concept might spend the time to add up the numbers on the left hand side then subtract the numbers on the right hand side. However, a student who understand the concept better will see right away that the numbers are the same, except for the order, and will quickly know the correct answer.
The reading comprehension section might ask the child to read two separate stories and ask questions that test whether the child really understands the similarities and differences between the two stories.
Overall, the questions seem to have been chosen wisely by the state to test childrens' mental sharpness. On a humorous note, some of the questions are obviously old because they are outdated. For example:
If you want to find out where New York is, you should look in
a) a dictionary
b) a thesaurus
c) an atlas
d) a storybook
The correct answer is missing. Even little 2nd graders know these days that the correct answer should be:
e) Go to Google or Yahoo maps and type in "New York"