Original post made by Corynn, Danville, on Dec 6, 2010
STAR, CAHSEE, PSAT, SAT…How many tests do we have to take to be able to move on to college? Technically, we have to take the STAR test every year. And we have to take the CAHSEE to be eligible to graduate from high school. Many students wonder, why so many tests? Aren't they all basically the same? The answer is no, each test has it's own purpose.
Why Take The STAR (Standardized Testing And Reporting) Test?
The STAR Test is to show the progress of a student from 2nd grade through 11th grade. STAR Test material dirffers each year, because students take different classes each year. Through elementary school the tests were based on what grade you were in, but in middle school the testing is determined by the level of class you were taking. For example, if you were taking Algebra 1, then you would take the Algebra 1 STAR Test. So the STAR Test is to see how one student has grown throughout the year and where that student can still improve.
Why Take The CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam)?
The California High School Exit Exam is a test that we, as sophomore students, need to pass in order to graduate high school. The CAHSEE exam tests us on 6th through 10th grade material. But the CAHSEE exam affects more than just the student's future. It also affects the school's API (Academic Performance Index) score, and that effects a school's funding. So, if a school were to not perform as well one year as the year before, then the school might not receive as much money. And in a time where there are programs being cut left and right, there is more pressure to do well and to get the funding to keep those crucial programs alive. A school's API also affects the teacher to student ratio. That makes sense because if you don't have enough money to hire teachers, then class sizes are going to get bigger and the teachers won't be able to work with students, individually.
The CAHSEE affects a student's graduation and the school's API score. Therefore there is pressure to make sure every student knows the material, and that they can pass the test.
Why Take The SAT (Standardized Acheivement Test)?
Colleges specifically look at your SAT scores and therefore they are a factor in your acceptance or denial of your application. Also, colleges don't look at your STAR scores or CAHSEE scores. It's vital to have a score that shows what you're capable of and the SAT can give you that. It allows students, who may not have the highest GPA, the opportunity to still be in the running for good colleges.
So even though it seems like we are taking too many tests, students should know that each test has it's own importance and should be taken seriously.