STAR Math is an online adaptive assessment program from Renaissance Learning for math in grades K-12, including basic math, algebra, geometry and statistics.
Around since 1998, and Web-based since 2003, the program is now used by 30,000 districts across the country. Many of these districts use STAR Math via the company’s Accelerated Math product, which has STAR Math embedded in it as a diagnostic tool. (Its strength is a bit of an edtech chicken-or-egg dilemma: the inclusion of STAR Math bolsters Renaissance Learning’s Accelerated Math practice product, by guiding teachers toward the right content for each student. But according to the “Best Evidence Encyclopedia,” that fusion makes it hard to tease out whether Accelerated Math’s instruction would make a difference in student achievement on its own, without STAR Math).
Using a few dozen multiple-choice questions drawn from a 4,000 item testbank and “adapting” the level of difficulty of subsequent questions based on those responses, in about 20 minutes STAR Math promises to deliver quick and precise information about students’ math achievement so they can be placed into classes and groups for further instruction. As such, Renaissance Learning says STAR Math is appropriate for both upfront diagnostic purposes as well as ongoing progress monitoring.
Because of STAR Math’s ability to measure students’ test score growth as compared with that of peers nationwide, the New York State Department of Education is also using it as an approved student assessment component of its annual teacher evaluations under Race to the Top.
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