As students in Houston ISD begin taking the new State Assessments of Academic Readiness, HISD’s Richard Blair talks about some of the chief differences between TAKS and STAAR, and how parents can help their children get ready for the tests. For a complete schedule of testing dates, click here.
Panelists will be taking questions from studio audience and callers
The Houston Independent School District is reaching out to its Spanish-speaking community and familiarizing them with the new state-mandated STAAR exam by broadcasting a live STAAR Forum in Spanish on Tuesday, March 6, from 7 to 8 p.m. on HISD TV.
This live Spanish forum will provide parents and students the opportunity to ask questions and share their concerns about STAAR with a panel of bilingual experts, including administrators and school principals. The panelists will also outline the chief differences between the previous state exam, TAKS, and STAAR, and discuss the state’s recent decision giving school districts the option of deferring implementation of the requirement that high school students’ scores on STAAR end-of-course exams count toward their class grades
Viewers can participate by submitting questions through HISD’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, via e-mail to STAAR@houstonisd.org or by calling during the forum to 713-556-8901.
What: Live STAAR Forum in Spanish
Who: HISD parents, students and STAAR panelists
When: Tuesday, March 6, from 7 to 8 p.m.
Where: HISD-TV (Comcast, Ch. 18 and AT&T U-Verse, Ch. 99) and online at www.houstonisd.org/HISDTV.
Following are links to news stories about yesterday’s letter from four state senators regarding the requirement that STAAR end-of-course exams count for 15 percent of a student’s final course grade:
Shapiro says TEA can waive STAAR requirement (Texas Tribune)
Senators support deferral of end-of-course exams’ effect on final grades (Dallas Morning News)
Central Texas districts vary on handling of new end-of-course exams (Austin American-Statesman)
Shapiro back delay on STAAR grade provision (Austin American-Statesman)
Don’t like the effects of STAAR tests on education? Opt out (Austin American-Statesman)
Sharpen your No. 2 pencils – the state’s new accountability test, STAAR, is just two months away. Ever since the Texas Education Agency began releasing information about the new accountability system, HISD teachers and principals have been hard at work preparing students for the exam. Students in grades 3-8 will begin taking the tests on March 27, with more testing dates in late April. High school students will take the majority of their STAAR EOCs – “end-of-course” exams – during the month of May.
Teacher Development Specialists have been training educators, developing assessments, and using feedback to recalibrate instruction in a way that prepares students for the more rigorous STAAR test. That work continued last week at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center.
STAAR is the new statewide, vertically-aligned, testing system that will replace the TAKS test.
Stephanie Rhodes, principal of Ray K. Daily Elementary School, joined other elementary school principals in reviewing writing samples to better understand the writing portion of the STAAR test.
“At first there was a lot of anxiety, because we didn’t have any release questions or a lot of information. We knew it was going to be more rigorous, but we didn’t know how far of a jump it was going to be,” Rhodes said. “We now have a better understanding of the expectations. I think the district has done a great job getting us information and people to train us on the direction we need to go and what we need to do as leaders to make sure our teachers and our students are successful.”
Rhodes said she is working to make sure her school is prepared. She’s meeting in professional learning communities with teachers during their planning time, helping teachers look at data, and holding parent meetings.
“I think the students know that it’s going to be a more difficult assessment, but they also know they are getting the preparation they need.”
How the district is preparing for the STAAR test:
- Training for teachers, principals
- Coaching, co-teaching, and model teaching based on STAAR
- STAAR-focused assessments and feedback throughout the year
- Revised spring teaching calendar focused on STAAR standards
- Recruitment of tutors for high-need campuses
STAAR is the new statewide, vertically-aligned, testing system that will replace the TAKS test. STAAR will continue to be based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills – known as the TEKS. The STAAR tests will be more rigorous than TAKS and are designed to measure a student’s college and career readiness. Key dates:
- March 26-30:English I, II and III, Grades 4 & 7 Writing, Grades 5 & 8 Math and Reading
- April 24-27: Grades 3, 4, 6 & 7 Math and Reading, Grades 5 & 8 Science, Grade 8 Social Studies
- May 7-18: Assessment window for EOC subjects (except English I, II and III)
For sample questions, test dates and more information, please visit houstonisd.org/STAAR
HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT STAAR?
Post a comment on HISD’s STAAR Resources blog at hisdstaar.wordpress.com
Follow STAAR on twitter: twitter.com/HISDSTAAR