State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR)
What is the STAAR Test?
The STAAR Test (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) was implemented in spring 2012, replacing the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. STAAR is a standardized test given in the state of Texas to primary and secondary students. It is state mandated, which means if a public school is to receive funds in the state of Texas, they must give this test and your child is not allowed to opt out of them. Private schools, charter schools and homeschooling students are not required to take it. STAAR Testing dates typically occur in the spring months around April.
Your child will be given 4 hours to complete the STAAR test (5 hours for English I and II only.).
For the younger students, grades 3-8, the test is given as a marker for their progress made over the course of the year. For instance in elementary and middle school, the STAAR’s content is focused on what is taught during the current academic year rather than knowledge and skills learned over multiple years. In 5th and 8th grade, a student may only advance to the next grade level by passing the reading and math tests or by unanimous decision of his or her Grade Placement Committee. Students have three opportunities to pass mathematics and reading.
As students reach high school, however, the tests (English I and II, Algebra I, Biology and History) must be passed, as part of the students’ requirements for graduation. STAAR EOC (End-of-Course) assessments test high school students’ mastery of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for a given course and determine each student’s college and career readiness.
The STAAR test program includes annual assessments for the following:
- Reading and mathematics, grades 3–8: The STAAR test program assesses students in reading and mathematics for grades 3 through 8. These tests are designed to measure students’ proficiency in core reading comprehension and mathematical problem-solving skills. The reading assessment focuses on understanding texts, vocabulary, and making connections, while the mathematics assessment covers topics such as number operations, algebraic reasoning, geometry, and data analysis. These assessments help to track students’ progress and ensure they are meeting state curriculum standards.
- Writing at grades 4 and 7: STAAR writing assessments are administered to students in grades 4 and 7. These tests measure students’ ability to compose well-structured, coherent, and grammatically correct essays. Students are evaluated on their ability to express ideas clearly, organize thoughts effectively, and use appropriate grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The tests include both multiple-choice questions that assess editing and revising skills and a written composition that evaluates students’ overall writing abilities.
- Science at grades 5 and 8: The STAAR science assessments are designed for students in grades 5 and 8. These tests evaluate students’ understanding of key scientific concepts, such as the scientific method, properties of matter, energy, forces and motion, Earth and space systems, and life science. The assessments are aligned with state curriculum standards and help to ensure that students have a strong foundation in scientific knowledge and reasoning skills.
- Social studies at grade 8: The STAAR social studies assessment is administered to grade 8 students and covers topics such as history, geography, economics, government, and citizenship. The test focuses on critical thinking skills, including the ability to analyze and interpret primary and secondary sources, understand historical and geographic context, and evaluate different perspectives. This assessment helps to gauge students’ understanding of the social, political, and economic development of the United States and the world.
- End-of-course (EOC) assessments for English I, English II, English III Algebra I, Algebra II, Biology, and U.S history: The STAAR EOC assessments are administered at the end of specific high school courses to measure students’ mastery of the course content. These assessments cover a wide range of subjects, including English I, English II, and English III (focusing on reading comprehension, writing, and literary analysis), Algebra I and Algebra II (testing mathematical problem-solving and algebraic reasoning), Biology (evaluating understanding of biological concepts, processes, and systems), and U.S. history (assessing knowledge of historical events, people, and themes in the United States). The EOC assessments serve as a valuable tool for evaluating students’ readiness for college and the workforce.
For STAAR practice test questions and examples of the types of questions found on the Texas STAAR, view our 100 free practice questions.
TEA shares two types of test questions for the STAAR program—sample questions and test forms. Sample test questions are small subsets of test questions released from the STAAR test banks. These test questions may have been previously administered. A test form is a set of released test questions previously administered together to Texas students which reflects the STAAR test blueprints.
Once students have taken a STAAR assessment they will receive a score indicating their performance. Students will fall in to one of the three categories below:
- Level III: Advanced Academic Performance: Students who achieve Level III have demonstrated a superior understanding of the tested subject matter. They have surpassed the minimum requirements for grade-level proficiency and have exhibited a comprehensive grasp of the knowledge and skills required in the specific subject area. These students are well-prepared for the next grade level or course and are on track for college and career readiness. Their performance indicates a high likelihood of success in more advanced coursework and future academic challenges.
- Level II: Satisfactory Academic Performance: Students who fall into the Level II category have met the established state standards for grade-level proficiency in the tested subject area. They have demonstrated an adequate understanding of the material and possess the necessary skills to progress to the next grade level or course. Level II students have achieved the minimum expectations for college and career readiness and are likely to succeed in future academic pursuits with continued support and targeted instruction.
- Level I: Unsatisfactory Academic Performance:
Students who score at Level I have not met the state’s grade-level proficiency standards in the tested subject area. They have not demonstrated an adequate understanding of the material and may struggle with the next grade level or course without additional support and intervention. These students may require targeted instruction, remediation, or additional resources to address gaps in their knowledge and skills. Their performance indicates a need for close monitoring and guidance to improve their chances of future academic success.
STAAR is available in a variety of formats to serve students who are in the special education program or who are English language learners (ELL).