Tag Archives: STARR

HISD students get ‘STAAR-y’-eyed in advance of state assessment

Students at schools all across Houston are getting jazzed up in advance of the STAAR exams that begin next week, with activities ranging from tutorials to pep rallies.

Pupils at HISD’s Chávez High School, for instance, got to participate in a relay race and fling cream pies at their principal and teachers during an event held on March 27.

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Garcia Elementary teachers and staff got their students excited by hosting a pep rally. There were performances and a surprise flash mob! Click here to see a video from the event.

Here is a breakdown of the testing schedule:

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Houston ISD Meets Tougher State Accountability Standard

The Houston Independent School District earned an overall Met Standard rating under the new Texas school accountability system, the Texas Education Agency announced Thursday.

More than three-quarters – 78 percent – of individual HISD schools earned a Met Standard rating under the new system that seeks to measure whether students are on track to graduate ready for college and the workplace. Of the 210 HISD schools that were awarded a Met Standard rating, 154 earned an additional distinction designation for especially strong student progress, or achievement in math and/or reading/English language arts.

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STAAR testing begins today (w/ video)

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.

Click image above for video.

Transcript from today’s live chat on STAAR


Thank you for joining us for a live chat about STAAR. Our panelists are ready to take your questions. We have with us Mark Shenker (High School Office), Richard Blair (Middle School Office), Angela Borzon (High School Office) and Angela Miller (Curriculum). We will make every effort to answer your questions today – if we experience technical difficulties, we will switch to Twitter and replace the chat window with a live feed.

[Comment From HISD parentHISD parent: ] 

Is it better to guess on a question or leave it blank if you don’t know the answer?


Wrong answers are not counted against a student; they simply do not get credit for the question. The raw score for multiple choice items reflects the total number of correct responses. There is no downside to guessing if a student does not have time to review answer choices.


HISD reaches out to Hispanic community with live STAAR forum in Spanish

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.

Join HISD for noontime chat on STAAR – March 7 on houstonisd.org

Parents, teachers and community members can visit houstonisd.org for an interactive web chat on STAAR on Wednesday, March 7, from noon to 1.

A chat window will display a running feed of questions and answers during the live event. Viewers can simply watch, or actively participate by typing questions into the chat window. Selected questions will appear along with a response from HISD’s panel of STAAR experts.

On the Q&A panel: Curriculum Director Nancy Gregory, Director of High School Office Mark Shenker, and Middle School Accountability Manager Richard Blair.

Calls, emails pour in during live STAAR session at HISD-TV studio

The calls poured in as HISD hosted a live forum on the state’s new accountability test: STAAR. More than 100 people crowded the HISD-TV studio and two overflow areas to watch the forum, and viewers at home called in and emailed their questions throughout the show. More than 75 phone calls were received during the event.

Students in the live studio audience.

Host Denisse Cantu fielded questions from the live studio audience, callers, and email. A common theme emerged from the students who participated: “Why the change to STAAR?” (Answer: To measure students’ college readiness.)

“STAAR will prepare students for high school and beyond,” said Chief Middle Schools Officer Dallas Dance.

Other students and parents asked about preparations for STAAR. Some expressed concern about whether tutorials would be enough, and what the district was expecting  performance-wise in the first year of a new accountability system.

“It’s our expectation that you will do very well,” said Mark Shenker, director of the High Schools Office. He emphasized the Grad Labs, tutorials, after-school resources, and weekend sessions that continue to be available to students in HISD.

Several viewers called in to ask about the district’s plans for delaying the 15 percent requirement for high schoolers’ end-of-course exams. Based on the Texas Education Agency’s  move to defer the rule, HISD administration will recommend to the school board that the requirement be delayed a year.

A complete report of the questions and answers from this event will be posted here and on houstonisd.org in coming days. If you have a question about STAAR, please email STAAR@houstonisd.org.

HISD principals, teachers prepare for new STAAR test

HISD staff review writing samples at Hattie Mae White in preparation for STAAR.

 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.

(Click here for STAAR overview video.)

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


Post a comment on HISD’s STAAR Resources blog at hisdstaar.wordpress.com

Follow STAAR on twitter: twitter.com/HISDSTAAR