Wednesday, March 21, 2012

From the Superintendent: Testing Season Is Here

Dear Parent/Guardian:

This spring, your child will take several very important tests at school as part of the California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program. STAR results help us monitor your child’s achievement and, along with other information, help teachers make decisions about each student’s academic needs. The STAR results are also used by the state to calculate the Academic Performance Index (API) that determines whether schools in California are making progress in improving student achievement. In addition, STAR results are used to determine whether schools and districts are making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as required by the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. State and federal law require that at least 95 percent of the students at each school participate in the state testing. If you do not want your child to participate in the STAR program, you must complete a Parent/Guardian Request to Exempt Student form available from your child’s school.

Students in Grades 2 through 8 will be tested on the California Standards Tests (CSTs), which measure how well students are meeting state standards in English language arts and mathematics. Students in Grade 8 will also be assessed on state history/social science standards and students in Grades 5 and 8 will be assessed on state science standards. Students in Grades 4 and 7 will take a Writing Standards Test where they will write an essay.

Students in Grades 9 through 11 will be tested on the CST, which measure how well students are meeting state standards in English language arts, mathematics, history/social science, and science.
Students in Grade 10 will be administered an additional Life Science Standards test as required by NCLB. Limited English-proficient students: In addition to the STAR tests, Spanish-speaking students in grades 2 through 11 who have been enrolled in schools in the United States for less than 12 months or who are participating in the district’s biliteracy program will be given the Standards-Based Test in Spanish (STS).

Students with special needs: Most students with special needs take the California Standards Tests (CSTs) with all other students under the same conditions. Accommodations will be made for students whose Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or Individual Service Plans (ISPs) indicate the need for special assistance. Certain students with moderate to profound disabilities who are unable to participate in more traditional testing will be administered the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA). Some students in Grades 3 through 11 will take the California Modified Assessment (CMA), which serves as an alternate assessment to the CSTs for students who meet specific criteria, have been identified by students’ IEP teams, and are not eligible to take the CAPA.

The teachers and staff at your child’s school are dedicated to making sure that all students receive the support they need to meet the state standards and do well on the STAR tests. Please contact your child’s teacher to learn about the extra programs and services that are available to help your child be successful.

I encourage you to discuss with your child the importance of doing his/her best on these upcoming tests. The results of your child’s tests will be mailed to your home within 20 days of their arrival in the district, and you should be in receipt of those results prior to the beginning of the 2012-13 school year.

Bill Kowba Bill Kowba