STAAR® Test – State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness®
What is the STAAR Test?
The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness® (STAAR® test) refers to a series of standardized tests used for elementary and high school students in the state of Texas. For children in the 3rd through the 8th grade, the STAAR test covers reading, writing, math, science and social studies skills. Children who began the 9th grade before the 2011-12 academic school year continue to take the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills™ (TAKS™ test), which for younger children has been replaced by the STAAR test. This comprehensive assessment tool evaluates students’ knowledge and skills in core subject areas, ensuring they are well-prepared for the next grade level and ultimately for college or career success.
Beginning in spring 2012, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR test) will replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS test). The STAAR program at grades 3–8 will assess the same subjects and grades that are currently assessed on the TAKS test. At high school, however, grade-specific assessments will be replaced with 12 end-of-course (EOC) assessments: Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, English II, English III, world geography, world history, and U.S. history. (Source: Texas Education Agency)
Here is an overview for parents on the Texas STAAR test and how it measures their child’s academic progress:
The primary purpose of the STAAR test is to determine if students have met grade-level expectations based on the TEKS. The test results provide valuable information to parents, teachers, and schools about a student’s academic strengths and weaknesses, helping to inform instructional decisions and identify areas that may require additional support. The primary objectives of the STAAR test are to:
- Assess students’ mastery of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum standards for each grade level and subject.
- Provide educators, parents, and policymakers with valuable data to inform instruction, support targeted interventions, and monitor the effectiveness of educational programs.
- Meet state and federal accountability requirements, ensuring schools are held accountable for students’ academic success.
The STAAR test is administered annually, typically in the spring. Students in grades 3-8 take tests in reading and mathematics, while students in grades 5 and 8 also take tests in science. Social studies tests are administered to students in grades 8, 10, and 11. High school students take end-of-course (EOC) assessments in Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History.
The STAAR test is administered to students in grades 3-12, typically in the spring semester. Specific subjects and grade levels assessed include:
- Reading: Grades 3-8
- Mathematics: Grades 3-8
- Writing: Grades 4 and 7
- Science: Grades 5 and 8
- Social Studies: Grades 8 and high school U.S. History
- End-of-Course (EOC) assessments for high school students in Algebra I, Biology, English I, English II, and U.S. History.
The STAAR test consists of multiple-choice questions, along with some open-ended questions and writing prompts, depending on the subject and grade level. The tests are designed to measure a student’s critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills.
The STAAR test format varies by grade level and subject, but generally consists of multiple-choice, open-ended, and griddable questions. Some subjects, such as English and writing, also include essay prompts. The test items are designed to assess students’ understanding of key concepts, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities. The tests are timed, with time limits varying depending on the grade level and subject area.
Scoring and reporting:
STAAR test results are reported using a performance scale with four categories: “Did Not Meet Grade Level,” “Approaches Grade Level,” “Meets Grade Level,” and “Masters Grade Level.” These categories help parents and educators understand how well a student is performing relative to the grade-level expectations outlined in the TEKS.
Scoring: STAAR test scores are reported using a scale score, which allows for the comparison of students’ performance across different administrations of the test. Scale scores are categorized into four performance levels:
- Masters Grade Level: Indicates thorough understanding of the content and readiness for the next grade level.
- Meets Grade Level: Demonstrates a sufficient understanding of the content and is prepared for the next grade level.
- Approaches Grade Level: Shows some understanding of the content but may require additional support for success in the next grade level.
- Did Not Meet Grade Level: Indicates a lack of understanding of the content and a need for significant intervention.
Reporting: STAAR test results are typically available within a few weeks after administration, and they are reported to parents, schools, and districts. Schools and districts use the data to identify areas of improvement, inform instructional planning, and allocate resources to support students’ academic success. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) also uses the data to evaluate school and district performance as part of the Texas accountability system.
Using test results:
Parents and teachers can use STAAR test results to monitor a student’s academic progress over time and identify any areas where additional support may be needed. Schools also use the results to evaluate the effectiveness of their instructional programs and make data-driven decisions about curriculum and instruction.
For high school students, STAAR EOC assessments are a part of the graduation requirements. Students must achieve a passing score on each EOC test to earn a high school diploma. However, there are provisions for students who do not pass a particular EOC test to meet the requirements through alternative methods, such as an individual graduation committee (IGC).
It’s essential for parents to remember that while the STAAR test provides valuable information about their child’s academic progress, it is just one measure of a student’s overall performance. Parents should consider the STAAR test results in conjunction with other factors, such as classroom performance, teacher feedback, and a student’s individual growth and development, to gain a comprehensive understanding of their child’s academic progress.
Students who are home schooled or attend private or charter schools are not required to take the STAAR test.
We recommend that Testing Mom members preparing for the STAAR test use our practice questions for the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills® (ITBS® test) and Woodcock-Johnson® Tests of Achievement. Also, you can access Study Island as a Top member with thousands of practice questions for the Texas STAAR test.
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