STAR tests to be taken seriously

June 5, 2008 — by Neyha Bhat

When some students think of California Standardized Tesing, or STAR tests, they immediately think it is an opportunity to kick back and bubble in random answers because these scores do not technically affect their college admissions. This year, however, the school aimed to change student attitudes.

This year, the administration made many extra efforts to emphasize the importance of the tests by sending out an e-mail to students and also having teachers talk to their students. The letter stressed the importance of having 97 percent of students take the test in order for the school to qualify.

The scores will also be available for teachers who want to see if their students are taking the tests seriously.

“I will definitely consider looking at my students’ STAR scores and seeing if they took the tests seriously,” said Mohnike. “I might then consider that when writing their letters of recommendation.”

Mohnike said she hopes that the increased level of importance attributed to the standardized test this year lead to students taking it more seriously.

“Our students’ averages have not been what we expected,” said Mohnike, “and obviously not because our students are of low intelligence, but because they are just not trying.”

The results from the STAR tests will also affect students directly as they will be viewed by California State Universities as part of the admissions process. The colleges may also review scores in the UC system.

In addition to looking at scores in terms of the admissions process, the California State Universities will use the scores from two new sections to allow accepted students to skip certain general education classes. The extra sections, which were only on the junior level test, allowed students to demonstrate their preparedness for college math and English.

It is not certain whether the school efforts had an effect on most students, but atleast one said she took the test more seriously his year.

“I honestly only tried harder because I realized CSUs and maybe UCs will be looking at scores and I don’t want something stupid like not trying on STAR tests to jeopardize my college admission,” said junior Heraa Hyder.

Despite this, the school encouraged¬¬ students to put effort into these tests more than ever not only because of the effect on college admissions, but also because high scores will help bring funding which can be used to help students.

“When students do well, it’s a reflection of our school,” said Mohnike. “And when we have that good reflection, we get funding that goes directly towards providing resources for students.”

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