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What is STAAR Testing in Texas? 

The STAAR test is an important assessment given to students in Texas public schools. It measures how well a student has learned and can apply the knowledge and skills that are expected for their grade level or course, based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards. 

The TEKS outlines what students across Texas should learn in each subject and grade. The STAAR test ensures that each student is making good progress in mastering these learning goals. 

Starting in the 2022-2023 school year, the STAAR is being administered online instead of using paper and pencil. Most students will take the test on a computer or tablet at their school. 

STAAR Sections Breakdown 

Parents often ask what subjects are on the STAAR test for middle school students. This page has the latest information and here is a breakdown of the tests that students take. 

RLA- for Grades 3–8 

The STAAR Reading and Language Arts (RLA) tests are designed to evaluate every student's progress in developing the essential reading and writing skills outlined in the TEKS for their grade level. The tests are designed to be developmentally appropriate for assessing younger learners in the elementary grades. If you see the sample questions for a 3rd Grade RLA test and then compare them with the sample questions from the other grades you will understand that the tests become more challenging.   

Here is a breakdown of the questions asked and points awarded per grade on the STAAR reading and language arts test. 

Grade 

Total Questions 

1-Point Questions 

2-Point Questions 

Extended Constructed Response 

Total Points 

41 

38 

1 (10 points) 

52 

41 

38 

1 (10 points) 

52 

41 

38 

1 (10 points) 

52 

45 

42 

1 (10 points) 

56 

45 

42 

1 (10 points) 

56 

45 

42 

1 (10 points) 

56 

Mathematics for Grades 3–8

STAAR Math assessments cover a mix of straightforward single-answer questions worth one point each, as well as more involved, multi-step, or open-ended problems worth two points to fully assess students' mathematical knowledge and skills. Here is a guide to the questions students will encounter on the STAAR Math tests based on the grade level.  

Grade 

1-Point Questions 

2-Point Questions 

Total Questions 

Total Points 

23 

30 

37 

24 

32 

40 

26 

34 

42 

29 

36 

43 

30 

38 

46 

32 

40 

48 

The one-point questions include both multiple-choice questions where students select one answer choice, as well as non-multiple-choice questions that could involve filling in a blank, gridding a response, or another format. 

The two-point questions are all open-ended questions, requiring students to show more work or provide more comprehensive answers. These carry more weight than the one-point items. 

Learn more about the STAAR Math Test 

Science for Grades 5 and 8 

STAAR Science tests evaluate students' knowledge and skills in science based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum standards. The tests cover four main reporting categories: Matter and Energy: Force, Motion, and Energy; Earth and Space; Organisms and Environments.  

The number of questions and scoring points for each category varies by grade level.  

The tests consist of both multiple-choice and open-ended (non-multiple choice) questions. Multiple-choice questions are worth 1 point each, while open-ended questions can be worth 1 or 2 points. 

The TEKS are divided into "readiness" and "supporting" standards:  

  • Readiness standards are essential for success at the current grade level and preparedness for the next grade. They make up 55-70% of the test points.  
  • Supporting standards play a role in preparing for the next grade but are not central. They make up 30-45% of the points.  

All TEKS standards, whether readiness or supporting, are taught in their entirety. 

Social Studies at Grade 8 

The 8th-grade STAAR Social Studies test covers essential topics about U.S. history, geography, economics, science, technology, and society. It includes multiple-choice questions and focuses on: 

  • History: Understanding key historical events up to 1877, such as colonization, the Revolutionary War, drafting of the Declaration of Independence, creation of the Constitution, westward expansion, Civil War, and Reconstruction. 
  • Geography: Knowing the location and characteristics of U.S. places and regions from the 17th to 19th centuries. 
  • Economics: Understanding how economies function, including the roles of consumers, producers, and goods/services. 
  • Science, Technology, and Society: Analyzing how science and technology impact society and shape the world. 
  • Social Studies Skills: Using critical-thinking skills to organize and apply information from various sources, including technology. 
  • Social Studies Terminology: Using correct terminology, and communicating effectively in written, oral, and visual forms. 
  • Problem-Solving and Decision-Making: Applying problem-solving skills to social studies scenarios. 

Overall, the test aims to assess students' understanding of these topics and their ability to apply social studies knowledge and skills effectively. 

What are the STAAR Performance Levels? 

The report card shows each student's performance on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science. The performance levels indicate how well the student understood the material tested: 

  1. Masters Grade Level - This is the highest level, indicating a strong understanding of the course material and preparedness for more advanced work in this subject. 
  2. Meets Grade Level - The student showed an adequate understanding and is on track for the grade level expectations. Some improvement may be needed. 
  3. Approaches Grade Level - At this level, the student demonstrated only a basic grasp of the material tested and will need extra help in this subject area. 
  4. Did Not Meet Grade Level - This means the student did not show sufficient understanding of the grade-level content and will require significant support in this subject moving forward. 

The report provides an individual's overall score and performance level categorization for each subject test. It also breaks down their performance into subcategories under each subject, showing how many points they earned out of the total points possible for each category of questions. There is also a comparison with the previous year's test. 

FAQ's

Is STAAR Test Mandatory in Texas? 

Yes, the STAAR test is mandatory for all public-school students in Texas, as well as those in open-enrolment charter schools, as required by both federal and state law. 

What Grade Levels Must Pass STAAR Test? 

Students in grades 3 to 8 and those taking specific high school courses must pass the STAAR test. High school students must pass five STAAR End-of-Course (EOC) assessments. They are Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History—to graduate. 

How Many Standardized Tests Do Students Take in Texas? 

The number of standardized tests students take in Texas varies by grade level. Most students will have two to four testing days during the school year. 

What Are the STAAR EOC Assessments? 

STAAR EOC assessments are End-of-Course tests for specific high school courses, including Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History. These are required for high school graduation. 

Learn more about the STAAR EOC Test 

STAAR Test Administration 

The Texas Education Agency takes strict measures to ensure the STAAR test is administered securely. All people involved in administering the STAAR must follow detailed security procedures to keep the test content and student data safe. The protocols allow the STAAR to be delivered safely while providing fair and equal testing opportunities for all Texas students. 

STAAR Test Dates 2024 

STAAR tests are given in the spring. Check the calendar on the website. Make sure students arrive at school on time on testing days. It is important they are present from the start and do not miss any test directions. 

Can Parents Check the STAAR Test Results?

Parents can access a full report card via the Family Portal. The report provides the overall score and performance level categorization for each subject test. It also breaks down their performance into subcategories under each subject, showing how many points they earned out of the total points possible for each category of questions.   

What Happens if you Fail the STAAR test? 

If a student fails the STAAR test, they may be required to undergo additional instruction and have opportunities to retake the test. 

How Texas STAAR Tests Are Scored? 

There are Raw Scores vs. Scale Scores Raw scores. This refers to the number of correct answers, that are converted to scale scores to account for differing question difficulties. This scaling process takes into account the academic performance levels each year. Scale scores allow fair comparison of student progress each year. 

STAAR tests are scored based on a scale that categorizes student performance into one of four categories: Masters Grade Level, Meets Grade Level, Approaches Grade Level and Did Not Meet Grade Level. Students need a minimum of 25% to 35% to pass the tests. Some students will not meet grade levels. 

What Do STAAR Results Mean? 

STAAR results indicate a student's performance level and readiness for the next grade or course. They are used to determine if a student needs academic intervention. They also show a child’s progress over time, this progress may be categorized as Accelerated, Expected, or Limited.  

Is There a Time Limit? 

STAAR assessments typically have a four-hour time limit, except for English I, English II, and English III, which have a five-hour limit. These time limits are the maximum allowed, but most students finish sooner. Students eligible for accommodations, such as extra time on the same day or an additional day, can request them. After completing the test, students may either leave the testing room or engage in an instructional activity. 

Preparation for STAAR Test

How to Help My Child Prepare for the STAAR? 

To help a child prepare for the STAAR, parents, and teachers can use released tests and practice sets, as well as various online resources and study guides that cover the tested subjects. We recommend these STAAR practice tests that our team of teachers and education experts has crafted. 

What Are STAAR Released Tests? 

STAAR released tests are previously administered tests that are made available to the public. They can be used as practice materials to prepare for the STAAR assessments. 

What Do the STAAR Test Results Mean? 

Overall, the STAAR Test results report card aims to give you a comprehensive picture of a student's learning progress and preparedness across the core tested subjects each year. The performance levels and detailed scoring allow you and the teachers to identify subject areas needing more support.  

A Teacher Advises: 

Please take the time to review the report card carefully and discuss your child's strengths and areas for improvement with their teachers. Together, they can collaborate to ensure your child receives the necessary support and guidance to achieve academic success. 

Reassure your child that the test is just one measure and that you are proud of them for doing their personal best. 

 

 

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