Reach for the stars on the STAR, ACAP Summative practice tests

Published 10:30 am Saturday, January 20, 2024

The Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program practice test rolled out in December, according to Chambers County School District Director of Testing Fran Groover. She said during Wednesday’s Chambers County School District board meeting that the test gives teachers a quick and yet thorough overview of how well students are meeting their objectives.

The format of the practice test is designed to be similar to the actual test in the spring. Groover said it will be available starting at the beginning of the next school year. 

The STAR assessment tests both reading and math for students in grades kindergarten through eight. The assessment is used as a progress monitoring tool to make sure that students are meeting their goals. It can also be used to screen for dyslexia. However, Groover said it is not used as a state assessment.

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CCSD Superintendent Casey Chambley said the STAR assessment is on a list of state-approved assessments. 

“There are lots of curriculum assessments out there, but the state determines which ones are applicable for math and the reading that match what’s going to be on the ACAP test,” he said. 

Student scores for the winter and fall were discussed during the meeting. The students will re-test in the spring after their state testing. 

To be proficient in reading, the state requires students to score in the 40th percentile or higher. 

Groover noted that 50% of Bob Harding Shawmut Elementary’s first graders achieved a score considered proficient by the state. 

Groover compared the percent of proficient students from the fall to the winter scores for each grade and school. In reading, the percent of BHS second-grade proficient students went from 33% of students proficient to 41%.

Some other highlights from the presentation were Huguley Elementary second-grade students, who went from 34% to 44%, and Huguley Elementary fourth graders who moved from 22% to 37%. 

The percent of Eastside Elementary third graders proficient in reading jumped from 14% of students proficient to 21%. Fifth grade at Eastside went from 12% to 20%. However, Fairfax Elementary fifth graders percent proficiency dropped from 20% to 16%.

J.P. Powell Middle School’s sixth grade percent of proficiency moved from 12% to 15%. W.F. Burns Middle School seventh grade went from 15% to 18%.

Like with reading, placing in the 40th percentile in math is considered proficient. Fairfax Elementary first-grade students’ proficiency jumped from 46 to 57%. Huguley Elementary first grade proficiency went from 31% to 42%, and Huguley Elementary fourth-grade proficiency leaped from 38% to 55%. 

Whereas, J.P. Powell Middle School saw a drop from 21% to 14% in seventh grade, and W.F. Burns Middle saw a drop from 14% to 11% in eighth grade.

Chambley said the school district often sees less growth in the winter assessment due to the Thanksgiving and Christmas break. He said they will be looking forward to more growth in the spring.

“If you’ve ever been in an elementary school in December, it’s kind of hard to keep their minds on an assessment,” Groover said. “But in the spring, they’ll be assessment-minded, and so we expect to see some growth then.”