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May 15, 2012 > Letter to the Editor: STAR testing should be eliminated

Letter to the Editor: STAR testing should be eliminated

Each spring, students all over California in grades two through eleven take a STAR test. STAR stands for Standardized Testing and Reporting. The STAR program looks at how well students and schools are performing compared to the rest of the schools across California. Students take tests in reading, math, writing, history, and science. The STAR is not taken seriously by numerous students and can give a school a horrific reputation that affects each student directly, and can negatively affect house values. The STAR program does not execute as per the state desires and this test should be eliminated from the high school testing agenda.

The STAR is taken by high school students as a joke. Numerous students draw art on the bubble-in Scantron (test form) and many others just bubble in whichever letter is their favorite. I personally witnessed two friends that drew the same bubble art and posted it on Facebook and their Scantron spelled out "YOLO" through the bubbles. "YOLO" is "You Only Live Once." A test that does not affect a student's grade, gives no incentive to actually try.

This exam affects the school as a whole and places a rank for colleges to see. Students from a higher ranking school are more prone to be accepted to a college of their choice than the individuals from a lower ranking school. If one student excels immensely on the STAR and gets a full score, but the rest of their school does poorly, that student's chances to get into college decreases even though he/she individually surpassed her class. It is unfair and judgmental to base even a tiny portion of college acceptance on a test in which a specific student cannot stand out.

You live in a house around a specific school. Your house value will now be determined by the STAR exam. For instance, according to, "Properties near schools with a rating of four or five stars were almost completely insulated from declining values while those near schools with one to three stars experienced massive losses in value over that three year period." The basis of a house's value and pricing is determined by how well or poorly students in a school perform on a test that once again, has no direct effect on that student. When deciding to buy property, the surrounding school district has become vital.

Ten grade levels and cities all over California take the useless and poorly executed STAR exam. This test is not taken seriously by many students, unfairly intervenes with college acceptance, and spikes house values. This test is unfair and misrepresents actual achievement levels. In today's society, property values are down, college acceptance rates have become increasingly low and difficult, and employment rates are low. Our economy is suffering a crisis which the STAR exam simply does not facilitate or support.

Aakash Kadakia
(11th grade student at American High School)

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