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HISD principals, teachers prepare for new STAAR test

January 24, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

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

ABOUT STAAR

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

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