What is STAAR?
STAAR is a more rigorous standardized testing program that will replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) for elementary, middle, and high school students. The new STAAR program will emphasize “readiness” standards, which are the knowledge and skills that are considered most important for success in the grade or subject that follows and for college and career.
What tests must you take in high school?
Students first entering ninth grade in the 2011–2012 school year will notice the biggest difference in the new testing program. Under the TAKS program, students were required to take two tests in the ninth grade and four tests in both the 10th and 11th grade. In order to graduate, students were required to pass four exit-level tests given at 11th grade. With the new STAAR program, the exit-level tests will be replaced with 12 end-of-course (EOC) assessments, which students will take as they complete the corresponding course.
The 12 EOC assessments are:
- English I, English II, English III
- Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II
- Biology, Chemistry, Physics
- World Geography, World History, and U.S. History
If a student is enrolled in grade 8 or below and is taking a course for which there is a STAAR EOC assessment, that student will be required to take the applicable STAAR EOC test. For example, an eighth grade student enrolled in Algebra I will take the STAAR Algebra I EOC, as well as the grade 8 reading, science, and social studies assessments. Local school district policy will determine whether this student will also take the STAAR grade 8 mathematics assessment.
What classes does my child have to pass in order to graduate?
Students must pass the courses and designated state assessments outlined in the high school graduation programs to graduate from high school. This information can be found in the student High School Course Catalog beginning on page 1.
What is a minimum diploma?
The minimum diploma is one of the state high school graduation programs, which requires 22 credits for graduation. In order to select this plan as an option, students must meet certain qualifications and the plan must be agreed upon in writing by the student, parent, school counselor and administrator. If a student and parent are interested in pursuing the minimum plan, the first step is to meet with the school counselor. The information can be found in the student High School Course Catalog beginning on page 2.
How can I help my child with the English EOC?
Students will write the following essays during their STAAR EOC Exams:
- English I: Literary and Expository
- English II: Expository and Persuasive
- English III: Persuasive and Analytical
Take time to discuss, share and display at home STARR EOC Writing Tips with your students that were provided by the FWISD Secondary Literacy department.
- Relax. Before writing, take a few minutes to read and think about each question.
- Read the instructions. Make sure you read all instructions carefully.
- Study the prompt carefully. Follow the Writing Process as you compose your essay.
- Prewriting: Brainstorm ideas
- Drafting: Complete graphic organizer and write draft
- Revising: Analyze what to change
- Editing: Correct errors
- Publishing: Write final copy
- Schedule your time. Pace yourself as you write and allow for planning your essay and prewriting time. This is a four-hour writing test, and pacing is important.
- Jot down ideas. Plan to spend a few minutes jotting down your ideas as you plan your essay.
- Include the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Do not waste time on a long introduction. State your main points in one or two sentences, and use specific details in the rest of the essay to support your thesis.
- Stay on track. As you write, reread the prompt to make sure you have not wandered off course. Do not pad your essay with information unrelated to the prompt.
- Write to inform, not impress. Use specific words in your essay. Remember that lengthy sentences will not impress the reader if your key points are unclear.
- Do not panic. If you are running short on time, do not worry about a lengthy conclusion. A strong one-sentence conclusion will work.
- Edit and proofread. Take a few deep breaths and proofread your essay. Make sure your corrections are clear and easy to read.
How is STAAR different from TAKS?
The new end-of-course assessments will only assess the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for a given course, unlike the high school TAKS tests that cover material from multiple courses.
The questions on the new STAAR will be deeper and more complex than TAKS.
- In reading, greater emphasis will be given to critical analysis rather than to literal understanding.
- In writing, students will be required to write two essays instead of one, and the English EOC assessments will be administered over two days.
- In science and math, the number of open-ended (griddable) questions will increase to allow students to derive an answer independently.
In addition, a student’s score on the STAAR EOC assessment will count 15 percent towards the student’s final grade in that course. Each of the 12 end-of-course assessments will be available in paper format and online. Also, for the first time since the state began its standardized testing program, there will be a four-hour time limit to complete the test unless the student obtains a special exception.
What do you need to graduate?
To graduate, a student must have a yet-to-be-determined cumulative score on all of the EOC assessments taken in each content area: English, math, science, and social studies. Besides meeting the cumulative score requirement in each of four core content areas, students on the Recommended High School Program, which is the standard graduation plan, must pass the Algebra II and English III EOC assessments. The passing standards will be set in February 2012.
The STAAR graduation requirements apply to students first entering the ninth grade in fall 2011. All other current high school students will graduate on the TAKS program.
Will students who receive special education services take the STAAR?
The admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee for a student who receives special education services will determine the appropriate test.
What happens if you pass the course but fail the test?
If a student passes the course, but does not earn the required minimum score on the EOC assessment, the student may retake the test. The student is not required to retake a course as a condition of retaking the test for that course.
The school is required to provide accelerated instruction to each student who fails to perform satisfactorily on any EOC assessment.
Where can I find more information about the new testing program?
The latest information about STAAR can be found on the Texas Education Agency website.
What curriculum is being used to prepare my student for STAAR and EOC?
Teachers use the FWISD Curriculum Frameworks to plan instruction on a daily basis. The Frameworks are designed to teach all the assessed Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) before the testing date with time built in for re-teaching as needed. In addition to the TEKS, a number of excellent resources are available that are endorsed by the FWISD staff. Teachers use these resources in small groups and for after school and in-school tutorials. For specific content areas, parents may contact the teacher through the parent portal for each school site.
What is a curriculum framework?
The Curriculum Frameworks are the District’s curriculum resource. Aligned to the TEKS, they outline the written, taught and tested content that teachers must teach in order for students to master the objectives required to progress to the next grade level and also pass the STAAR and EOC. Teachers use the Curriculum Frameworks to plan lessons and assessments for students. For additional information, parents are welcome to contact the campus principal or the appropriate content director.
What is a CBA?
CBA stands for the Curriculum Based Assessments (CBAs) administered to students either by six or nine week’s periods. CBAs assess the taught curriculum for that time period. They are aligned in content and format to the STAAR and EOC. Teachers use the CBA results to assess student comprehension of content and plan future lessons based on student performance.
Are you only teaching for the STAAR test?
While is important to prepare all students for the STAAR and EOC, it is equally important to teach all of the TEKS so that students are prepared for subsequent grade levels and courses. Most of the TEKS are assessed on STAAR and EOC; however, TEKS that require research, constructed response and models cannot be assessed on a multiple choice test. These critical skills are embedded within the Curriculum Frameworks and are taught according to content requirements. For additional information, parents are welcome to contact the campus principal or the appropriate content director.
How does the school district hold the teacher accountable for those who do not pass?
FWISD staff work toward the highest standard of all students taking and passing the STAAR and EOC. Campus principals supervise teachers and monitor classroom instruction. Campus principals work closely with each teacher in regard to student data in multiple forms.
Is there tutoring offered for STAAR and EOC?
Tutoring is available at every campus. Parents may access the tutorial schedule via the Parent Portal, the campus administration and the teacher. Tutorial schedules are frequently sent home with the students. Contact your child’s campus for specific tutorial information.
How soon will I know the results of the STAAR test?
Results for spring 2013 testing are expect by May 31, 2013
Why is STAAR harder?
The Texas Education Agency (TEA), in collaboration with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and Texas educators, developed the new STAAR assessment system in response to requirements set forth by the 80th and 81st Texas legislatures. The STAAR system focuses on increasing postsecondary readiness of graduating high school students and helping to ensure that Texas students are competitive with other students both nationally and internationally.