Renaissance STAR Testing in 2022
Updated September 16, 2022
Many schools across the world use Renaissance STAR tests to assess students’ abilities in maths, reading and early literacy.
In this article, you’ll learn what Renaissance STAR tests are, what they measure, get a sample question for each type of test, as well as some tips on how to prepare your child for Renaissance STAR tests.
Finally, there will be answers to some questions you may have about this style of test.
Renaissance STAR tests are a suite of short tests developed to measure students’ maths, reading and early literacy skills from K-12.
Renaissance STAR tests are computer-adaptive tests, or CAT tests, which are different from cognitive ability tests.
Computer-adaptive tests adjust based on the students’ responses, so the test may become easier or more difficult. This leads to an accurate representation of the child's maths, reading and literacy abilities.
Renaissance has three STAR tests, which are:
- Maths and Maths Fluency
- Reading and Literacy
- Early Literacy
- Grades k-12
- 34 questions usually in 20 to 30 minutes
Full preparation practice packs for the 3rd & 4th Grade reading tests are available from testprep-online.
- Grades k-12
- 34 questions in 20 to 30 minutes
Children in grades 1, 2, 3 and 4 should practice in particular:
- Numbers and operations
- Geometry and measurement
- Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability
Practice packs for 1st and 2nd grade tests are available from testprep-online.
And if you're looking for practice packs for the Star Math test grades 3 and 4, you can also find them at testprep-online.
The STAR test gives an accurate prediction of a child’s learning needs from pre-K through 12. Your child’s teacher will use the results from the STAR test to understand their learning needs and be aware of their weaker areas to help improve their academic results.
Schools often administer the STAR Renaissance test three times a year — at the beginning, middle and end of the academic year.
Schools will use the result to work out areas your child needs to develop or place them in suitable classes based on their abilities. Some schools may use the results of the STAR Maths, Reading and Early Literacy test to place children in gifted or accelerated programs.
The reading test measures students’ reading ability; it assesses 46 skills across five domains:
Word Knowledge and Skills – This section covers vocabulary and comprehension, and it assesses students’ ability to apply these to answer a question.
Comprehension Strategies and Constructing Meaning – This section involves assessing strategies for making predictions and using context from text to come to conclusions.
Analyzing Short Literary Text – This part covers analyzing and understanding elements of a literary text, such as plot, characters, setting and theme.
Understanding Author’s Craft – This section tests a student’s ability to comprehend and analyze the author’s use of language and literary methods.
Analyzing Argument and Evaluating Text – This part covers the student’s ability to recognize, analyze and comprehend arguments, persuasive techniques and claims provided in articles.
The reading test consists of 34 questions and takes around 20 to 30 minutes to complete. It is not a timed test, so students can spend as long as they wish on it, but most should be able to complete it within this timeframe.
Here’s a sample 6th grade question on the domain of Understanding the Author’s Craft:
Jenny said her pile of library books was nearly 10 feet high. Jenny is probably trying to explain that she _____.
a) Is trying to break a world record
b) Has many books to read
c) Needs to clean her room
The Renaissance STAR Maths test measures the student’s mathematical ability and progress. It tests four domains:
Numbers and Operations – This section tests the student’s ability to recognize the basic arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, division and multiplication) and apply them to solve problems.
Algebra – This part assesses students’ ability to use basic arithmetic skills, including equations, variables, complex calculations, among others that should be expected of them.
Geometry and Measurement – This section assesses the student’s understanding of the connection between the form and function of both common and complex shapes, properties of shapes and their ability to measure them.
Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability – This part covers analyzing and inferring conclusions from different representations of data (graphs, charts, etc). They will also be assessed on their knowledge of specific terms, such as median, mean and others that should be expected of them.
There are 34 questions in the Renaissance STAR Maths test, and it takes around 15 to 30 minutes to complete.
This test is not timed, but most students will complete it within this timeframe.
Here’s a sample 5th grade question on Geometry and Measurement:
The radius of a circle is 7 inches. What is the diameter of the circle?
a) 13 inches
b) 16 inches
c) 18 inches
d) 14 inches
The Renaissance STAR Early Literacy is given to students in pre-K through 3rd grade.
It measures students’ reading and numerical ability, as well as phonological awareness in one single test. It covers nine domains and assesses 41 skill sets:
Alphabetic Principle (grades pre-K to kindergarten) – This section assesses students’ ability to identify relationships between written letters and vocal sounds.
Concept of Word (pre-K to kindergarten) – This part covers the ability of a reader to match spoken words to written words while reading.
Visual Discrimination (pre-K to kindergarten) – This section assesses students’ ability to recognize differences and classify letter symbols in a verbal context.
Phonemic Awareness (pre-K to 1st grade) – This part covers students’ ability to identify and recognize individual sounds (phonemes) in words.
Phonics (kindergarten to 3rd grade) – This section assesses students’ ability to match sounds of spoken English with single letters or groups of letters.
Structural Analysis (1st to 3rd grade) – This part assesses the ability to split words up into parts and understand their meanings.
Vocabulary (kindergarten to 3rd grade) – This section assesses students’ ability to understand words’ meanings and match them to images.
Sentence-Level Comprehension (1st to 3rd grade) – This part assesses students’ understanding of words within sentences.
Paragraph-Level Comprehension (1st to 3rd grade) – The section assesses students’ comprehension of texts and passages.
Read the sentence.
My father, was born in France, can speak both French and English fluently.
Which word correctly completes the sentence?
The scoring for Renaissance tests is quite simple. The Renaissance Maths, Reading and Early Literacy tests are scaled scores, often referred to as SS.
There are two factors used to calculate the score:
- The difficulty of the questions
- The number of questions asked
As this test is adaptive, students will be asked different questions based on how many they get correct, so some students will receive harder questions than others.
For reading and maths, the SS ranges from 0 to 1400, and the early literacy test ranges from 300 to 900. Each score will correspond to a grade level.
For example, a reading SS of 0 to 400 corresponds to grades 1 to 4, and 400-800 corresponds to grades 4 to 8.
Unfortunately, Renaissance does not share individual test results, or the questions a student was given, with parents.
This is because the test adapts to each student and changes based on their abilities. It gives the truest reflection of the child’s growth and ability at the time of doing the test.
Therefore, each test is completely unique. Renaissance believes that the pattern of responses is more important than the answers the student gave.
Renaissance does not intend for these tests to be studied and, unlike other tests, doing practice tests is not the best way to prepare for it. The tests are meant to be a representation of the areas where the child is excelling and the areas that need improvement.
The best way a parent can stay ahead of their child’s learning needs is by keeping on top of their performance at school.
Here are some of the best practices a parent can do to ensure their child is performing to their best standards:
While this isn’t the best way to ensure your child scores highly, doing practice tests will allow you to see the areas your child needs to focus on.
You can then spend time working on these areas. It will also allow your child to become familiar with the format of these tests to make sure that they are not surprised on the day and will be able to show a true reflection of their abilities.
CAT-style tests may take some time to get used to. The level of difficulty changes throughout, which may be confusing for some students, so practice will ensure they are prepared for this.
Make sure your child knows that the test is used to assess their current level, and is not a test on the material they have been learning in school.
They should be aware that it will be used to work out the areas they need to work on, so they shouldn’t feel pressure while doing the test.
If they do feel under pressure, they may end up with a lower score than they should have and their school may place them in a class that’s too easy for them.
Your child should be aware of the format of the test, that it’s computerized and adaptive, and they should know whether the test they are taking is multiple choice or not.
Your child should also be very familiar with the scoring of the test. They should know that it is not pass or fail, and they will receive a scaled score.
While this concept will be easier to understand for older learners, you should try to communicate this with younger learners as well.
Test-taking strategies, such as the process of elimination, are a good tool to teach your child for any test they take.
It will be especially useful for the Renaissance tests, as it is mostly multiple-choice questions, so being able to eliminate certain answers will give them a greater chance of choosing the correct answer.
Another useful strategy is telling them to move on when they are really stuck on a question and come back to it later. This will help to ensure they complete as many questions as possible and will stop them from getting too frustrated.
It’s extremely important that you are aware of your child’s strong and weak points. This will make sure you utilize study time well and focus on the areas that require the most attention.
Another great way to keep on top of your child’s development is to regularly communicate with their teacher to find out how they are performing in school. It’s also a good idea to seek a professional’s point of view.
There is no surprise that students will find studying boring from time to time. This will cause them to lose focus and stop concentrating, hindering their learning.
The best way to avoid this is to make learning fun and interesting. There are many games that you can incorporate into study time to make learning more fun for your child, which will ensure they remain focused and absorb as much information as possible.
You can make simple games like Tic-Tac-Toe or Hangman educational by changing up the rules slightly. Since children already know the rules to these games, they’re great to incorporate into learning.
A computer-adaptive test is a unique testing method. It offers a true representation of your child’s growth and abilities by adapting to your child’s level but changes difficulty based on the number of questions they are scoring correctly or incorrectly.
Many schools use the STAR tests frequently, as it gives a very strong view of their abilities.
They may be used to place your child in the correct class at the beginning of the academic year, to assess their progress at the middle of the year or as a final test to work out their development over the school year.
However, every school will be different, so be sure to ask about their testing timetable at the start of term.
No, Renaissance does not show parents their child’s individual test results or the questions their child was given.
This is due to the fact that each test adapts to each student and changes based on their abilities. It gives the truest reflection of the child’s growth and ability at the time of doing the test. Therefore, each test is completely unique.
The Renaissance STAR test is a great way to assess your child’s maths, reading and early literacy abilities.
It’s important to be aware of the fact that the test is a tool used to represent the child’s current abilities and assess areas that require attention and further development.
Remember to not put too much pressure on your child before they do a Renaissance STAR test, as this could affect their result and lead to their not receiving the attention they require.