You can extend the time allowed to complete STAR test items

The new STAR Reading test is a mixture of vocabulary in context questions and skill based question, totalling 34 questions overall.

Up to Year 2, the first 15 questions are vocabulary in context, with the remainder being skill based. From Year 3 onwards, the first 10 questions are vocabulary in context and the remainder are skill based.

Items will automatically time out if students do not respond to them. It is possible to extend the length of time allowed to complete each item.

The time the student has to answer each of these questions is as follows:

Years Normal Time Extended Time
1-2 Vocabulary-in-context questions – 60 seconds
Skill-based questions – 120 seconds
Vocabulary-in-context questions – 180 seconds
Skill-based questions – 120 seconds
3-13 Vocabulary-in-context questions – 45 seconds
Skill-based questions – 90 seconds
Vocabulary-in-context questions – 135 seconds
Skill-based questions – 270 seconds

Sometimes teachers ask what students should do if they do not know the answer and query whether they should guess or not. The best practice is for the student not to guess and to wait the short period for the question to time out. However, this can also depend on the student:

  • Some students are very reluctant not to respond thoughtfully to questions. They will work on them until the time limits invoke. So, for those students who choose to work until the time limit clock starts to flash, the best course is to let the question time out.
  • If, however, a student realises that s/he clearly doesn’t know how to respond to a question well before the clock starts flashing, in consideration of time, we would let them take a guess. This keeps them moving on efficiently and may also reduce anxiety for some students. However, the reliability of the test results will be negatively affected by following this course of action.

This all comes down to professional judgement with teachers knowing their students, knowing the results of the two courses of action, and choosing the one that they believe is best.


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