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Get your child off to a great STAAR this school year!
The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, has increased rigor and critical thinking standards that won’t leave much room for being bored in the classroom.
The cognitive complexity of the assessment is raised higher. Students are expected to demonstrate “college readiness” skills in all grade levels. The test includes a higher percentage of items to measure grade-to-grade level proficiency and college readiness.
The level of rigor has increased emphasizing the content standards that best prepare students for the next grade or course. Assessments will increase in length and overall difficulty with addition of more rigorous items and assessment of skills at greater depth and levels of cognitive complexity.
STAAR assessments are more focused. TEA has made a distinction between Readiness and Supporting standards. Assessments will emphasize the Readiness standards that are necessary for success and preparedness for the next grade level. Supporting standards remain instructionally important and eligible for testing but may not all be tested each year.
The relationship between the TEKS and STAAR assessment program and proportional representation of items assessed through Readiness/Supporting standards will be more clearly delineated.
To focus on preparedness for student success in subsequent grades and courses, and ultimately in college and/or a career, the STAAR tests will assess skills in a deeper way than TAKS through the inclusion of items measuring higher level thinking and greater cognitive complexity. Students are being held to higher expectations. They are being told to review their textbooks even if they don’t have homework and think about how their lessons in class relate to their lives outside of school. Students are doing more hands-on activities to build their problem-solving skills and understanding of new concepts for the tests, which replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS.
Parental Tips to Prepare for Success in STAAR:
• Early in the school year, review your child’s academic progress with his or her teachers to determine if extra help is needed in reading or math.
• Reinforce what your child is learning in school by asking questions about classroom and homework assignments.
• Attend the school’s Open House and parent-teacher conferences. Ask about activities you can do at home to improve your child’s skills.
• Keep in contact with your child’s teachers throughout the year. If your child seems to be struggling, ask about tutoring programs or other forms of available assistance.
• Establish a daily reading time, when family members can enjoy their favorite book or magazine without the distraction of television. This will help your child realize that you value and enjoy reading.
• Encourage your child to read a variety of materials, including stories, poems, plays, books, and newspaper and magazine articles. Look for opportunities to discuss what your child is reading, and find out what your child learned from the text. Suggest that your child make notes about unfamiliar words and concepts. Interacting with your child about what he or she is reading can improve your child’s ability to read “between the lines” and to make connections between reading and personal experience.
• Help your child learn to use the reading resources available at home or at the library. Doing this will put your child on the road to becoming a better, more independent reader.
• Help kids build vocabulary since words are tools which convey their thoughts and help in better expression.
• Encourage your child to talk about the steps used when solving a math problem.
• Ask your child questions about what is represented in the tables and graphs found in different sections of magazines and newspapers, such as the weather page.