Students in honors and AP classes end STAR testing

For the 2022-23 school year, SDUHSD made STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting), a math and reading assessment previously given to all students in the district, optional for high school students enrolled in Honors or Advanced Placement courses.

In the past, SDUHSD administered Star testing to 7-12th graders three times per school year. Data gathered from the standardized set of 35 questions was used by teachers to monitor the progress of students’ learning and make changes or adaptations to instruction and course structure. TPHS English teacher Dawn Whalen opted not to administer STAR Test to her Honors classes this year.

“Kids with high [language proficiency] start to get the same questions on the test over and over … once you reach the top, there’s no way to go but down,” Whalen said. “I’m happy [that] both teachers and students won’t have any more busy work.”

Ava Sharghi-Moshtaghin (10), who is enrolled in English 10 Honors, agreed with Whalen.
“It’s a rational decision, as kids in honors classes already grasp [the] subject comfortably,” Sharghi-Moshtaghin said.

Annie Polan, an TPHS Integrated Math teacher, administered the first round of STAR Testing to her college prep classes in the second or third week of school.

“I see the reasoning behind not having Honors or AP take [the STAR tests] because [they] tend to excel and exceed,” Polan said. “While tracking their progress is still important, they usually don’t need as much hands-on intervention.”

Varied opinions about STAR testing come from the students in college prep courses.

“I honestly don’t see the controversy [around STAR testing], it’s not a huge part of the syllabus, and the statistics gathered would really help the teachers out,” Integrated Math 2 student Luca Antonelli (10) said.

However, Curtis Wang (12), a student in college prep English 12, does not see STAR testing as a useful classroom tool.

“Since it does not hold any value in the gradebook, most of us don’t even try,” Wang said. “It’s a horrible waste of time, undermining the school’s average academic performance.”

According to Polan, SDUHSD will observe the data and patterns from this year and will eventually decide whether or not to continue making STAR testing optional for Honors and AP students.

“[Until then,] some kids in college prep [classes] think it’s unfair,” Polan said. “I just wish more students took a second to recognize how it’s beneficial for teachers to be aware of where they stand in terms of meeting certain standards.”

1,133 thoughts on “Students in honors and AP classes end STAR testing

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