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What is the STAAR Test?

Ready, Set, Go!

 

If you are the parent of a student in the 9th grade or younger, or even if your kids haven’t started school yet, you are probably wondering: What is the STARR Test? It has been in the news and much debated for the past few years, but the details are confusingly vague. Here is my attempt to clear up the confusion, at least until the state changes it again.

KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN TAKS & STAAR:

  • Test questions and performance standards will be more rigorous on the STAAR.
  • The total number of test items for the STAAR has been increased for most grades, subjects and courses.
  • A four-hour time limit has been established for STAAR tests; the TAKS was not timed.
  • Most STAAR math and science tests will have an increased number of open-ended questions that require students to answer independently without being influenced by multiple choice answers.
  • STAAR reading tests will give greater emphasis to critical analysis rather than literal understanding.
  • STAAR assessments in math and reading will be linked from grade to grade as well as to college readiness standards that are measured on Algebra II and English III tests in high school.
  • High school assessments are changing from grade-based to course-based tests. In all, 12 end-of-course exams will be given.
  • End-of-course tests for English I, II and III in high school will be administered over two days, with writing on the first day and reading on the second. Writing tests in grades 4 and 7 also will be extended to two days.

STAAR TEST: WHO TAKES WHAT

In grades 3-8: all students will be tested in math and reading. Students also will be tested in writing in grades 4 and 7, science in grades 5 and 8, and social studies in grade 8.

In high school: End-of-course tests will be given in English I, II and III, Algebra I and II, geometry, biology, chemistry, physics, U.S. history, world history and geography.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN

THIS YEAR: Not a whole lot, it is somewhat of a trial run. STAAR scores will not determine whether a student passes the course or the grade, nor for district or school accountability ratings.  But those standards are for this year only…

NEXT YEAR (MAYBE): Student in grades 5 & 8 will need to pass STAAR in order to be promoted to the next grade. In high school, students will take three STAAR End-of-Course exams in each subject area of English, Math, Science and Social Studies. The tests will count as 15% of their course grade (as far as the state has said so far) and students will need to have a passing average in each subject area in order to get their diploma.

Read more from Dallas Morning News  article, Few Texas students will fail new STAAR test this year

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