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California STAR test question regarding 3rd grade


sylvanglade August 24, 2010

My daughter just started 4th grade and a few weeks ago we received the California state test results for 3rd grade in the mail. There was a big drop in her proficiency grades in the 2nd grade to the 3rd grade. I spoke with another mom about her child's scores and she said the same thing. Then, I remembered hearing that it is common for students to not do as well in 3rd grade as they have done previously. Apparently the reason is that 3rd grade is the beginning of learning many new concepts and skills and the students' test scores often are lower at this grade level. Also, that in 4th grade the test scores go up again since this is the grade level where they really work on learning and putting into action the 3rd grade knowledge.

I've never been worried about the test scores but after seeing such a huge drop, I am concerned.
I was just wondering if anyone in this group has ever heard an explanation such as this before.


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Michael1971 August 24, 2010

One reason might be based on how the tests are presented. In 2nd grade, almost the entire content is read out loud by the teacher for the students. It can be an easy pace for them. In 3rd grade, they are expected to read it all on their own. I am not usually concerned about just one test. There is so much more that can represent a child's growth and understanding. Is being smart measured by how much one can memorize or how well one can solve problems?


madavid September 6, 2010

Go to the CDE web site and look at a pattern in the Language Arts scores from year to year. There is a pattern between 4th and 5th grade language arts scores-big drop. I wonder if there is a flaw in the test materials?


armybrat4444 September 7, 2010

I'm an eighth grader and I've been taking these tests since 3rd grade. The issue with drops between 2nd and 3rd grade testing is students were never meant to test that young. They've only been in school a few years and are still developing so quickly. Technically, and you can look this up, students will test better at all years if they don't start until they are in third grade, because otherwise they build up a constant fear of the tests. For example:

(9th grade)James: started in 3rd grade and has not scored any less than the 97th percentile overall on his testing
(10th grade)William: started in 2nd grade and has not scored any more than 94th percentile

James and William are brothers who are Army brats and therefore moved from school to school after William finished 2nd grade, therefore James never started testing that early. They are both brilliant, but William gets so nervous over these tests becuase he's been doing them so long and it's drilled into him that these make his grades.

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