Star Reading and Math Tests

About the Star test: Star is a standardized test used by many districts across the country. Students take the test on a computer and the questions adjust to get easier or harder based on student answers. The test generally takes around 15-20 minutes for each subject.  

How we use Star: Bellevue School District uses Star to help identify students who may need additional supports or be ready for greater challenges, and to measure academic growth over time. 

Who takes Star tests?

Grade 1  Star Math in the winter and spring 
Grade 2  Star Math in the fall, winter and spring 
Grades 3-5  Star Math and Star Reading in the fall, winter and spring 
Grades 6-9  Star Reading in the fall and spring 

How do I see test results? Student scores will be available in ParentVue a day or two after testing. You will see the date the test was administered, the school name, and two scores: state proficiency level and national percentile rank. 

Proficiency Level shows if students are meeting state standards, and is aligned to student performance on the state Smarter Balanced Assessments. There are four proficiency levels: 

At/Above Standard  Level 4: The student has exceeded state achievement standards 
Level 3: The student has met state achievement standards 
Below Standard  Level 2: The student is below state achievement standards 
Level 1: The student is well below state achievement standards 

Percentile Rank shows how a student scored compared to other students in the same grade nationally. For example, if a third-grader has a percentile rank is 73, it means they scored as well or better than 73% of third graders nationally. 

Star Spanish: If your student is in a dual language or one-way Spanish immersion program and took the Spanish version of Star, you will see percentile rank but not proficiency level because Star has not yet mapped the Spanish version of the test to the state Smarter Balanced Assessment. The percentile rank shows how your student scored compared to students nationally who took the Spanish version of Star. 

Additional Scores: If your child’s teacher shares additional Star reports with you, you may also see something called scaled score. The scaled score is a raw score that isn’t easy to interpret on its own, but it is the basis for calculating other measures like percentile rank and proficiency level. This year the Star publishers changed the scale behind the scaled score from the Enterprise Scale which we’ve used for many years to a new scale called the Unified Scale. They did this for technical reasons and it does not affect proficiency level or percentile rank. It’s like changing from Fahrenheit to Celsius when measuring temperature.  

If your child’s scaled score changed dramatically from last year to this year, it is likely due to the switch from Enterprise to Unified scales and is not a cause for alarm. Please use proficiency level or percentile rank to get a sense of your child’s progress over time. 

Fall 2021 State Smarter Balanced Test Score Results 

In Fall 2021, students in grades 4-9 plus 11-12 participated in state tests that were based on students’ prior year grade levels. This unique Fall state testing window happened because the usual Spring 2021 state tests were postponed due to pandemic issues.   

Students took Smarter Balanced tests in English Language Arts and in Math.  Also, students in grades 6, 9 and 12 had the opportunity to take the WA Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) test. 

Parents and students may now view their Smarter Balanced and WCAS results in ParentVue and StudentVue.  State-provided family score reports with the Fall 2021 results will be available in February 2022. 

Here is some additional information about the Fall 2021 tests, according to the state education office (OSPI): 

How were the Fall 2021 tests different from prior year tests? 

  • The tests were given in the fall instead of the spring.  Students took tests at their 2020-21 grade levels.  There were fewer questions overall, and the tests did not measure as many skills.  For instance, on the English Language Arts test, writing and speaking skills were not measured.  On the Math test, test items focused on evaluating expressions, writing equations, and problem solving.   
  • The primary purpose of the Fall 2021 tests was a check-in on how schools and students are doing after school year 2020-21.  OSPI recommends that these fall results not be compared to other year test results. 

Why did testing happen in Fall 2021? 

  • The U.S. Department of Education requires tests each year, but allowed flexible timing for the 2020-21 tests because of the pandemic.  To maximize time for instruction and support in spring 2021, the tests were moved to the fall. 

What do the score levels mean? 

  • The score level is an estimate of the student’s performance on some of the skills and knowledge in the subject area (English Language Arts, Math, or Science).  Students whose performance was at Level 3 or Level 4 demonstrated most of the skills and knowledge required to meet state expectations on a typical end-of-year test. 

Why were the tests shorter? 

  • Shorter tests allowed students and teachers more time to focus on social, emotional and academic supports as students returned to school this fall. 

Will students also take state tests in Spring 2022? 

  • Yes!  The Spring 2022 state testing window is scheduled as usual, where students will assess at their current 2021-22 grade levels.  Smarter Balanced English Language Arts and Math (grades 3-8 plus 10), WCAS Science (grades 5, 8, 11), and the alternate WA-AIM tests (for some students who receive special education services) will all take place this spring. 
  • In addition, the annual WIDA-Access test will happen in early Spring 2022, for all students in kindergarten through 12th grade who are Multi-Language Learners (MLL).  The WIDA-Access test replaces the ELPA-21 test for MLL students. 

Teaching & Learning
The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.