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An introduction to Texas STAAR testing

MONDAY, JANUARY 11, 2016 11:23 AM

According to the Texas Education Agency, beginning in spring 2012, students in Texas take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness exams. 

What is STAAR? 
Texas students in grades three through eight must take a series of standardized tests called STAAR. The subjects are as follows:

  • Third grade: Reading and mathematics.
  • Fourth grade: Reading, mathematics and writing.
  • Fifth grade: Reading, mathematics and science.
  • Sixth grade: Reading and mathematics.
  • Seventh grade: Reading, mathematics and writing.
  • Eighth grade: Reading, mathematics, science and social studies.

Schools may also offer end-of-course exams in English one and two, algebra one, U.S. history and biology to gain better insight into individual classes. Starting in spring 2016, school districts may also choose to administer optional STAAR English three and algebra two exams.

Any students who are English language learners can take the STAAR L assessment or STAAR A exam. Those who are in special education will receive particular assessments and assistance that align with their needs to ensure all students can do their best on the tests. Many students with cognitive disabilities take the STAAR Alternate 2, according to the TEA. This is something that parents can discuss with their children's teachers or special education instructors.

To find a STAAR calendar that shows testing dates near you, visit the TEA Student Assessment calendars.

Why is STAAR important? 
Governor Greg Abbott told The Courier of Montgomery County that the state's public education system goal should be to ready students for college and careers by providing them with skills and knowledge to succeed. STAAR testing offers a way for school districts and teachers to keep track of where their students are in terms of readiness for moving on to the next grade and subject level. These assessments also show whether educators use effective methods of preparation for the tests and may provide insight into areas that need addressing. It's important to note that your children's scores on the STAAR tests do not alter their in-class grades; they are an entirely separate entity with a similar assessment purpose.

How can I help my children prepare?
Make sure your kids do their daily homework to stay on top of what they're learning in class, as much of this is in preparation for the STAAR tests. You can also encourage your children to take practice tests to gain a feel for what the actual exams will be like and see how they do. To dig into individual subject areas, visit the TEA website