New School Year. New STAAR.

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Informing educators and parents. Supporting strong teaching. Guiding students to their full potential.

October 25, 2022

Office of School Programs

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Redesigned STAAR More Aligned to Effective Classroom Instruction

New test will align with teaching practices that engage students.

Teaching styles vary across the state, so what does effective classroom instruction mean? Based on research, effective instruction involves coherently building student background knowledge and vocabulary in all subject areas. This means not having students read random passages on random topics disconnected from what they may be learning in other classes. Effective instruction combines reading, writing, speaking, and listening because they’re all interconnected. It’s not just having students read without writing or waiting until grade 4 to start teaching writing. To effectively measure student understanding, teachers rely on more than just multiple-choice test questions. They also use question types that engage students in inquiry, reflection, and creation, asking students to write about what they read using evidence from text. Effective instruction also includes providing supports and accommodations to meet the needs of all students to allow them to access grade-level content.

The redesigned State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®)  will prioritize cross-curricular passages in Reading Language Arts (RLA) tests that reference topics that students have learned about in other classes. All the redesigned STAAR RLA tests will reflect the updated TEKS and will include writing where students compose text-based responses. This element of the redesign acknowledges the interconnectedness of reading and writing. The redesigned summative test will add new, non-multiple-choice questions that are designed to be more like questions teachers ask in class. The transition to a full online administration will provide students with robust accommodations that ensures equity with how students are tested.

Learn more about all the components of the redesigned STAAR on the STAAR Redesign webpage.

New STAAR Question Types Roll Out in Spring 2023

No changes to the December administration of End-of-Course assessments.

After extensive feedback from Texas educators, students, and parents, new question types will be incorporated into the spring administration of the STAAR beginning with the 2023 administration. No changes will occur on STAAR tests administered in December 2022. The incorporation of new question types will align the summative tests to effective classroom instruction and put a cap on the number of multiple-choice questions.

For the past two years, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has worked with content experts, educators, and psychometricians to develop question types that effectively measure the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Teachers from around the state provided feedback on the question types and their alignment to the TEKS, and students provided feedback about how the new question types engaged them and provided new ways to demonstrate their mastery.

New and updated resources including final blueprints, scoring and reporting guidelines, and sample question types will help educators become more familiar with the changes coming to STAAR and can be found on the STAAR Redesign webpage. Watch what teachers are saying about the changes coming to STAAR.

Interim Assessments Help Teachers Address Student Needs

Optional assessment programs provide teachers data to inform their instructional practices.

Assessments are about more than a score on a test. They are an integral part of effective teaching because of the data they provide to support instruction. STAAR Interim Assessments are optional, online assessments that align to the TEKS and help educators monitor student progress throughout the school year. These assessments are available at no cost to districts and open-enrollment charter schools, and they are not tied to accountability. 

STAAR Interim Assessments use the same online testing platform as the STAAR summative test and expose students to the testing environment and accommodations they’ll interact with on STAAR. Interims are aligned to the redesigned STAAR blueprints, but the interim tests are shorter than the summative. Incorporating interim testing as part of a balanced assessment system provides teachers with important data on all students’ progress and identifies individual students who may benefit from additional support. STAAR Interim Assessments also include all the new question types that will be on the redesigned STAAR except for constructed response questions.

Learn more about the testing windows for STAAR Interim Assessments, the data teachers can expect to get from interims, and resources to support educators on the STAAR Interim Assessment webpage.

Teachers Are Needed to Review STAAR Test Questions and Passages

Teacher expertise is an important ingredient in the development of assessments.

Educator input is a key element in the development of all questions and passages that will appear on STAAR, TELPAS, and all other statewide summative assessments. TEA is always looking for teachers to participate in educator committees and provide feedback on the content used on summative tests. If you are an educator or know someone that may be interested in serving on an educator committee, you can submit an application to be considered for existing opportunities to get involved. You can access the application by logging into the Learning Management System.

Put Me to the Test

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Can you answer this real STAAR question?

Read to the end of this newsletter to find out the answer.

Question #10 — 2022 STAAR Grade 5 Science

Students observe a gerbil in a cage. They write their observations as shown.

  • It twitches its whiskers.
  • It burrows in the bedding.
  • It drinks water from a metal tube.
  • It walks on four legs.

Which of these observations is most likely a learned behavior?

      F. Twitching its whiskers

      G. Burrowing in the bedding

      H. Drinking water from a metal tube

      J. Walking on four legs

Answer to Question #10 — 2021 STAAR Grade 5 Science

H. The gerbil had to learn to obtain water from a metal tube.

Did you know that every question on STAAR, STAAR Alternate 2, and TELPAS tests are reviewed by Texas educators? Teacher participation in the design and development of state assessments is critical. Lend your expertise and register as a volunteer to help make the Texas Assessment Program a national leader.


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If I Only Knew

Hot topics straight from the Student Assessment Help Desk

Q: With the transition to a fully online STAAR test in 2023, can a student still take a paper test?

A: Texas statute requires students to test online except for students who require accommodations that cannot be provided online or for students in specific settings where computers or technology are unavailable. In these rare and unavoidable circumstances, a student may be eligible for a special paper administration of an online STAAR test. Districts are responsible for confirming a student has met the eligibility criteria for a special paper administration of an online assessment.

Q: Does the redesigned STAAR test prompt students to select a second answer choice on multi-select questions?

A: If a student leaves a question blank or does not enter the required number of responses, the assessment platform will display a message warning the student that they have not answered one or more parts of the question.  

Looking for clarity about other assessment topics?

Submit your question to the TEA Student Assessment Help Desk.

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  Mark Your Calendar

October 10–28

To take a STAAR End-of-Course (EOC) assessment, OOS and OOD examinees must be registered using the examinee registration form.

November 11

The recommended date for testing coordinators to complete training sessions on test security and testing procedures.