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STAR reading test

Purpose of the assessment

This STAR Reading Tests are standardised assessment tools, designed to supplement the assessments that teachers make about their students' progress and achievement in reading. Each test assesses a range of reading skills that correspond closely to the main components of reading skill outlined in The Literacy Learning Progressions (Ministry of Education, 2010).

STAR was originally developed between 1999 and 2003. The NZCER test development team has spent two years on a full revision, which included pilots, two national trials, review of items, and working with external experts. The original author of STAR, Warwick Elley, led the NZCER team for this redevelopment. The edition is known as STAR Reading Test.

A number of schools have asked us about the use of stanines with STAR. You can find more information here.

To read more about STAR download the pdf.


The current edition of the STAR Reading Test consists of ten tests, arranged in order of difficulty and labelled according to recommended year level and test. The tests are designed for students from the beginning of Year 3 to the beginning of Year 9:

  • Schools are able to enter their results on the NZCER Marking Service website.
  • Sub-tests within each test relate to word recognition, sentence comprehension, paragraph comprehension and vocabulary range.
  • Year 7-9 tests also cover the language of advertising and reading different text types.
  • Tests designed for each year level but able to be used across more than two year levels.
  • More test options so students do not have to repeat the same test in successive years.
  • Detailed teacher manual, including an explanation of the scale, how to interpret results, and normative information.

Recommended year levels and testing times for each STAR test

Ordering paper tests?

Tests can only be purchased by schools, registered teachers, or parents/caregivers of homeschooled children with a current exemption certificate.

If you can't shop for paper tests online then you can download the STAR order form and email to or fax back on (04) 384 7933.

Support and Advice

NZCER has a team of people able to provide a range of ongoing assessment support and advice to schools.

For advice about the use of this test or others, including possible workshops, next steps and conversations around making sense of your school assessment, head to our Support and Advice page or contact our Education Adviser (details at the top right of this page).

We can also provide advice directly related to the NZCER Marking Service (subscriptions, setup, technical, data and reports).

PDF icon STAR_Order_Form_2016.pdf122.58 KB

NOTE:   The use of photocopied test material (including answer sheets) is a breach of copyright.