Planning and Scheduling Assessments - Selecting Skills / Plan List

How do I get to this page?

1 Renaissance Home page Select New Custom Assessments.
2 Star Custom Home page Select Plan Assessment.
3 Selecting Skills / Plan List

Who can do this with default capabilities?

  • District Level Administrators/District Staff: any class or school in the district
  • School Level Administrators/School Staff: any class in their school
  • Teachers: any of their own classes

Star Custom will temporarily save your work as you go, so if you make an unexpected departure from the program (for example, you accidentally close your browser), you will be given an opportunity to resume your work if you return to Star Custom within one week:

Select Continue working on this plan to resume your work, or Discard and start a new plan to delete the saved work and start over again.

If you created assessments in Star Custom and you want to use them, you need to follow a modified version of some of the steps on this page.

Follow steps 1–8 as described below, but make the following substitutions:

  • In Step 1, select Reading as the subject .
  • In Step 7, select the magnifying glass . Scroll down to the bottom of the drop-down list of domains and select Other Subject Areas.

    When you do this, you will see an Other Subject Areas skill card among the skill cards—check it.

When you select Continue (step 8) and move into the next stage of planning, any assessments you created in Star Custom will be listed on the Choose Your Assessments page and you can select them as you would any other assessment.

Note that if you follow the steps above and then create a new assessment on the Choose Your Assessments page, "Other subject areas" will be listed as a skill.

  1. Use the drop-down lists in the navigation sentence at the top of the page to choose the subject and class or group that you want to plan an assessment for.

    When you select class or group options , a pop-up window will open where you can make your choices:

    • District level administrators, district staff, and other personnel assigned to more than one school will need to select schools in the Schools column .

      • Choose Select Schools at the top and then check individual schools to select them, or select All Schools to select all the available schools at once.
      • School level administrators, school staff, and other personnel assigned to only one school will not need to select a school.

      You can search the items in a column by clicking within that column and then typing Ctrl+F or control-F on the keyboard.

    • The default option is to plan assessments for classes and groups. If you would rather plan assessments for all students in a grade, select the CLICK HERE link . This changes the second column from Classes and Groups to Grades:

      Select the link again to switch back to Classes and Groups.

    • In the Classes and Groups column , choose whether the assessment you are planning should be assigned to students based on their class/group or by their grade.

      • If you are planning assessments for classes and groups, check the classes and groups you want to assign the assessment to in the Classes and Groups column .

        • You can select more than one class/group.
        • Teachers who choose By classes/groups will only see their own classes/groups.
        • Groups in classes that aren't using Star Custom will not be shown in the list.
        • Selecting multiple classes/groups will make Star suggested skills unavailable. The Manage Groups function (see tip box below) will also be unavailable.
      • If you are planning assessments for all students in a grade, choose the grade you want to assign the assessment to in the Grades column .

        • You can only select one grade.
        • Teachers will only be assigning the assessment to their own students who are in the chosen grade.

    Once you have made your choices, select Apply at the bottom of the pop-up window to save them, or Cancel to close the pop-up window without saving your changes.

    Need to create or edit student groups? Select Manage Groups in the upper-right corner of the page. You will go to the Manage Groups page in either the Reading Dashboard or the Math Dashboard.

    If you have selected multiple classes/groups or grades (see above), the Manage Groups function will not be available.

  2. Next, choose the timeframe to plan for based on the date range .

    You can choose one of the standard weekly timeframes or custom dates .

    If you choose to use custom dates, you can either type the start and end dates ( and ) or select them from the calendars that open as you click in each field . The dates can be up to 3 weeks apart. When you're done, select Continue (or Cancel if you decide not to use custom dates).

  3. After making your selections, you will see the placement level . Based on Star assessment data and Renaissance Learning's student growth models, the placement level is an estimated answer to the question: "If the students in the class/group or grade that I have selected were to take a Star assessment on the first day of the time period I have selected, what would their median Scaled Score be?"

    This estimation allows you to use Star's science (Star's proven validity and reliability) to have a very good sense of your students' achievement level as of today.

    Ideally, groups of students are placed in the Learning Progressions for reading and math based on their scores on prior Star assessments. However, there are instances where a group of students has no prior testing to go by. In this case, an appropriate placement is calculated ahead of time.

    Test Data/Scores Used to Place Students on Learning Progression


    • Preferred data/score for placement: most recent Star Reading test score
    • If no Star Reading test score: most recent Star Early Literacy test score
    • If no Star Early Literacy test score: use calculated placement (described below)


    • Preferred data/score for placement: most recent Star Math test score
    • If no Star Math test score: use calculated placement (described below)

    Calculated Placement

    Renaissance has run thousands of simulated Star tests, creating a pool of testing data for “hypothetical” students in every grade.

    For each grade and state, a student was selected from the data pool who met two qualifications:

    1. The student met the end-of-year proficiency requirements for the student’s grade and state, and
    2. the student was in the 50th percentile of his/her peers.

    This means that for every grade in every state, we can take this student and reverse-engineer that student’s journey through the school year, calculating the student's placement in the learning progression (reading and math) for any given date within the school year. That calculated placement is used to place groups of students who have no test data/scores of their own.

    “This group of students has been placed much higher/lower on the learning progression than I expected. Why is that?”

    When placements are calculated, they take into account the standards set by the state. If your state has very high standards set, the path through the learning progression will start and end higher than normal. This may result in students being assigned skills that are a grade or two above their actual grade level (the converse is also true).

  4. The number in the slider above the pace bar is the selected point in the learning progression based on the placement level. Select the arrows to either side of it (or click on the learning progression line itself) to raise or lower its value. As you do this, the following information will change:

    Note: If you have chosen to assign the assessment to all students in a grade, the pace bar will be set to the grade you selected.

  5. Check the learning objectives (skills) that you want to test students on in a Star Custom assessment. In the example below, the teacher has chosen the second, third, and fourth skill cards shown. Note that suggested skills have a "Suggested" indicator at the bottom . (If you chose multiple classes/groups or grades to assign the assessment to, these indicators will not be shown.)

    Once selected, the skills are listed below the skill cards . You can remove a skill by selecting the on the right .

  6. To see more information about a skill, such as the standard, select the at the bottom of the card . You will see the skill information in a new window, with the skill details shown by default. Select one of the categories on the left to see domains and standards, subskills, and prerequisite skills. (Some skills may not have subskills or prerequisites.)

    Select Close to close the information window.

  7. If you want to find specific skills to assess, select the above the skill cards .

    1. In the pop-up window, enter a keyword to search for and select the domain you want to search within from the drop-down list . Then select the on the right side of the keywords field .

    2. Below the keywords field, you will see how many skills match your keywords . Those assessments are flagged in the pace line ; on the skill cards, the same flag appears in the upper-right corner .

      Use the slider arrows to move from one skill to the next. To include a skill in the assessment, check it.

      In the next stage of the process (choosing assessments), you will be presented with assessments that address the skills you have chosen. If you have already created one or more assessments that address those skills, and you want those assessments included in the next stage, select Select my assessments... under the drop-down list on the right .

      A pop-up window will open, showing all the assessments you have created that match the selected skills. Check the box for any assessments you want to have available in the next stage , then select Use Assessment . If you decide not to use one of your own assessments, select Cancel .

  8. When you have finished choosing the skills to include on the Star Custom assessment, select Continue at the bottom of the page . To leave this page without saving your work, select Back .

Plan List

After you have created one or more plans that assign Star Custom assessments to students, those plans will be listed on the bottom of this page under the Back and Continue buttons. (The plans shown are for the subject and students selected at the top of the page.)

Select Review to the right of a plan to review the assessments, resources, and assignments that are part of the plan.

Select Delete to the right of a plan to delete the plan.