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STAR reading tests are standardised assessment tools, designed to supplement the assessments that teachers make about their students' progress and achievement in reading. They cover a range of reading skills corresponding closely to the main components outlined in The Literacy Learning Progressions (Ministry of Education, 2010).
When do you use it?
The ten tests, arranged in order of difficulty and labelled according to recommended year level, are for students from the beginning of Year 3 to the beginning of year 9. They are commonly administered with groups and have the flexibility to be used more than once during a year, and to some extent, at year levels other than those for which they were initially designed.
What does it give you?
The 30–40 minute tests are easy to administer, although a thorough read of the manual is necessary before administration. Student performance can be mapped against national norms, and future learning strategies developed. There is also an online reporting and analysis service, available by subscription, which provides a range of reports at the student, class, test, sub-test, and cohort levels.
Points to consider
It must be remembered that the tests have been designed as supplementary tests of achievement in reading, intended to add to other assessments teachers use to determine progress. It is also important to be aware that, if you wish to use stanines to make comparisons, these will be most valid if the test is carried out in term 1, as the STAR tests were normed in March. If testing is done in term 4, stanine information for the following year should be used, and if testing takes place during terms 2 or 3, the stanine information will be less valid as there is no obvious group with which to compare the students.
There is an on-going materials cost associated with using STAR.
More informationis available on the NZCER website.
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