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High school students honored for progress, growth in STAR testing

On April 14, Fallbrook Union High School administrators honored 157 of their students who had advanced scoring or improved a proficiency level in their Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) results in 2009.

The students were treated to lunch from Pedro’s Tacos and given a certificate commending them for their efforts. Each student’s name was called as their classmates cheered them on for either scoring advanced (the highest level possible in STAR testing) on four or more tests, or for improving one proficiency level on two or more of the STAR tests.

The STAR student luncheon is just one of the ways that the high school has tried to rally support from students in their testing, as the results of the test are used to reflect the school’s success.

It’s really important to recognize the students’ names and achievements,” said Adam Dawson, Fallbrook High School assistant principal. “Students don’t typically get praise for this assessment, and it doesn’t go on their transcript or affect their GPA. We are trying to find more ways for them to buy into this test.”

While the STAR results may not be reflected on students’ transcripts, Dawson said they do have an individual impact.

“Students must do well in the STAR tests if he or she wants access to the honors program, take advanced placement (AP) courses or enter the gate program, we look at their STAR results,” said Dawson. “If their results are low, they aren’t considered for the programs.”

STAR results also help reclassify students into different categories, explained Dawson.

“An English Language Learner may score proficient in his STAR testing, and be reclassified,” he said. “These results really help us to teach material selected from accurate data.”

The students were happy to be honored.

“I wasn’t expecting a lunch, so I was shocked,” said 16-year-old junior Sixto Garcia. “I always try my best [on STAR testing] for my own benefit. That way I can see what I can achieve.”

“It’s amazing to have them acknowledge us,” agreed 16-year-old junior Brian Meza.

Students have already set personal goals for this year’s STAR tests, which will begin on April 26.

“The students know their personal bests,” said Dawson. “All we expect is for them to do their best and show improvement. They may not all be in the advanced, but we want them to try their best. Any conversations had at home to encourage success will help.”

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