Using STAR for Differentiation, Remediation and Motivation of Students

STAR Reading

This week I am in the process of hosting one-on-one meetings with teachers to look at individual STAR (part of the Renaissance Reading program) data.  As part of the process, we examined current progress toward meeting SGP (Student Growth Percentile, or how students grew in comparison to their same peer group nationally), compared individual student achievement to student growth, and discussed potential strategies for using the available STAR data- including the use of differentiated activities for the four levels of student achievement identified by STAR (At or Above Benchmark, At Risk, In Need of Intervention, Urgent Need for Intervention).

I created a document entitled, “Increasing SGP Using STAR: Motivation, Differentiation, and Remediation.”
Here is the information from that document.


(These suggestions are based upon teacher posts on the PLSD managed site dedicated to STAR testing and motivating students with STAR)

  • Sharing Information with Students
    • Share progress with students via the “Annual Progress Report”
    • AND/OR share students current placement via the “Diagnostic Report” and select “Show Skill Area” scores so that students have areas of improvement on which to focus
    • Have students keep this information in a folder and reflect upon their progress via a “reflection sheet” after each STAR test where they can set individual goals and have them share their goals with you (conference or turning in the reflection sheet)
    • Share (general) class progress with all students.  For example, the median growth and percentage of students who met SGP can be shared in order to set class goals
    • Teachers can also show the “Growth Proficiency Chart” as long as they don’t hover over bubbles so that names can be seen
  • Setting Goals and Providing Rewards
    • Set class goals and class prizes for raising median SGP and percentage of students who met SGP by a pre-set amount determined by the teacher (or with the class); Some teachers suggested an improvement goal of 30-40 points
    • As an additional incentive, extra credit (or other extrinsic rewards) could be provided for increases in student’s STAR scores


Students are tiered into four groups in STAR: at or above grade level (green), at risk (blue), in need of intervention (yellow), and urgent need for intervention (red).  These categories can be seen in the “Instructional Planning” (by student or class) reports.  From there, you can run an instructional planning report that will show skills for each group, identifying “essential” skills.  One note, make sure the date selected for the report within 30 days of the STAR test or student data will not show up.

  • Teachers can use this information to cater activities and questions for those groups when developing in-class reading activities or even separate homework assignments
  • Teachers can also use the instructional planning information to create tiered reading groups based upon ATOS levels.  (There is a post about doing this on the blog, but I can help.  It is time consuming if you try to do it alone.)


  • Use the “Record Book” to find questions and activities focused on individual standards.  In “Record Book” you can select individual students by clicking on his or her name and then select “View Suggested Skills.”  Doing this will take you to the actual standards, highlighting needed areas.  Then, you can select the area you want and see “skill probes” (questions) and “activities” that could be used with that student, or any student, at that same level
  • Teachers may require students who did not meet SGP to meet independently or during a remediation group time in or outside of class in order to review diagnostic information and/or work on additional practice to strengthen skills in needed areas
  • Teachers may choose to group students with others within their same tier and then provide activities or questions that meet the needs of those specific students

Here is a downloadable version of this same document.

In regards to the four tiers and activities for each, these resources are not available for download within the program, so if you would like hard copies, I would be happy to provide them.

The information able to be mined from STAR is quite interesting, and the feedback I have received from teachers about these meetings thus far has been that the data is informative and the resources useful.

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