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Transcript from today’s live chat on STAAR

March 7, 2012 @ 3:20 pm
 
11:54
HISD: 

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.

 
11:59
 
[Comment From HISD parentHISD parent: ] 

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

 
11:59
HISD: 

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.

 
12:00
HISD: 

For a student who is organized enough to do so, an effective test-taking strategy would be to answer first all easy questions and then go back to work on the harder ones and then finally guess all unanswered questions before time runs out. However, this strategy is not suitable for all students.

 
12:01
 
[Comment From menjulmenjul: ] 

Across the nation and specifically in Houston, Texas, a large and growing number of parents are deciding to opt their children out of the high stakes tests that are hindering schools from real teaching and learning by keeping their children home on test days. How does or can the district support parents in their efforts to protect their children from these harmful assessments?

 
12:03
HISD: 

The test are a measure of the student mastery of the curriculum. STAAR represents a deeper and broader assessment of the curriculum than any test that the state has used previously.

 
12:10
Twitter
HoustonISD: 

HISD has a panel on experts online right now to answer questions about STAAR.

 

[via Twitter]

 
12:17
Twitter
HoustonISD: 

Do you have a question about STAAR? Send us a tweet. We will ask our panel of experts to answer during the online chat. http://bit.ly/y9SGCg [via Twitter]

 
 
12:18
 
[Comment From KarenKaren: ] 

I have a daughter who is a junior taking IB and AP classes. Will STAAR apply to her? Can’t her IB and AP exams count for the end of course exams I have heard about?

 
12:18
HISD: 

The STAAR EOC tests only apply to students who enter high school this year. Students who are already sophomores, juniors or seniors are not subject to STAAR EOC. The legislature has discussed the possibility of different consideration for AP and IB, but at this point all students who are in EOC-related classes (even those AP or IB) will take EOC tests. There are no substitutions.

 
12:19
 
[Comment From Bubba JonesBubba Jones: ] 

How can the district attribute my child’s high test score performance to the teacher’s quality of instructional delivery (and conversely, poor performance – poor instruction). Shouldn’t the district pay my child for their performance rather than their teacher?

 
12:20
HISD: 

A student’s performance is a measure of his or her teacher’s effectiveness. A teacher’s responsibility is to help students master the state curriculum. They need to differentiate their teaching to ensure that every student is successful. Students growth or lack of growth as measured by state is an indication of teacher success or failure.

 
12:20
Twitter
HoustonISD: 

HISD experts: STAAR represents a deeper and broader assessment of the curriculum than any test that the state has used previously. [via Twitter]

 
12:21
 
[Comment From StevenSteven: ] 

So, can you describe what’s different besides the fact that it’ll be a better assessment. Is the test over several days? Is it all at once? What subjects? And what happens if my child doesn’t pass part/the whole thing?

 
12:22
HISD: 

The assessment is more rigorous in how it assesses student understanding. Instead of asking simply of rfacts, it challenges students to think about underlying concepts. It also evaluates a student’s understanding of broader applications of skills. Each grade level is much more focussed on assessing the level of preparedness to not only the current grade-level but also the following year’s curriculum.

 
12:30
 
[Comment From Desiree CDesiree C: ] 

Is my daughter’s score compared to the scores of other fifth graders across Texas? Is that comparison going to determine whether or not she passes/fails, or do all students need some hard specific score to pass?

 
12:30
HISD: 

Passing standards for grades 3-8 will be available in Jan 2013. Promotion standards (this year only) are not tied to STAAR.

 
12:31
Twitter
HoustonISD: 

Answer: We will know raw scores in late May. [via Twitter]

 
12:32
 
[Comment From LisaLisa: ] 

Why has HISD and other school districts gone to great lengths to dis-avow that teaching to the test doesn’t happen in their classrooms, yet now that the STAAR test is in front us, it’s causing great consternation and upheaval? In my child’s 3rd grade class (just his classroom, not the grade level), 23 out of 26 students are now receiving additional tutoring in math.

 
12:34
HISD: 

The STAAR test is aligned to the curriculum, so teaching the TEKS is teaching to the test. We always want to offer additional help to those students who may be struggling in a particular area.

 
12:35
 
[Comment From menjulmenjul: ] 

“Passing standards for grades 3-8 will be available in Jan 2013. Promotion standards (this year only) are not tied to STAAR.” That basically means the test is meaningless this year (besides every year), right?

 
12:36
HISD: 

Any test gives us information that helps us make adjustments in our curriculum and instruction to meet the needs of all students.

 
12:37
HISD: 

We want to support all students, and offer additional help to any student whose results indicate a need for intervention.

 
12:37
HISD: 

We also use it to provide additional challenges, acceleration and enrichment. We also use the test to help students demonstrate advanced academic performance.

 
12:37
Twitter
HoustonISD: 

HISD on teaching to the test: STAAR is aligned with TEKS, so teaching to the test is teaching to the curriculum. [via Twitter]

 
12:38
 
[Comment From Bernard WBernard W: ] 

Can you guys talk about retesting? Will retesting be available for high school students who fail portions of the STAAR?

 
12:40
HISD: 

For students graduating with an EOC requirement, retests will begin this July and will be offered 3 times each year to give students opportunities to increase their cumulative score. The first retest will be given in July.

 
12:40
 
[Comment From AnthonyAnthony: ] 

Will there be any kind of summer school available for students who do not do well on Starr? Will it be required or voluntary? How long will they have to go to summer school? Will it be offered at every school?

 
12:40
HISD: 

Yes, summer school is available for students who do not do well on STAAR. It will be highly recommended for any student – particularly high school students – who fail to meet a performance standard.

 
12:41
Twitter
HoustonISD: 

HISD experts: Though STAAR does not count as a promotion standard this year, the test gives us info on how to improve our instruction. [via Twitter]

 
12:41
HISD: 

The summer school dates are June 13 through July 18. And the high school EOC tests will be part of the end of that summer school term.

 
12:42
 
[Comment From Lorie MLorie M: ] 

Will HISD offer study guides for parents? Maybe over the summer?

 
12:42
HISD: 

The state is not providing the guides they used to. Schools are looking at ways to support parents wanting to help their students.

 
12:42
 
[Comment From HISD TeacherHISD Teacher: ] 

How will STAAR be used for teacher Aspire awards?

 
12:42
 
[Comment From DJDJ: ] 

What percentage of a teacher’s bonus is based on student test scores? What is the formula for figuring out the teacher bonus? As a parent, I am disturbed by the emphasis on testing and the pressure that teachers pass on to the students to excel on the test. Quite frankly, I’d rather my kids go to a school that is merely “acceptable” that teaches a rich curriculum instead of an “exemplary” school that bullies them into performing well on the test. I’ve seen children in tears on test day. District policies that put so much emphasis on testing are inhumane. What steps are you taking to make sure that testing is not overemphasized?

 
12:43
HISD: 

Where given, STAAR will be used to calculate teacher value-added reports.
The value-added data will be most probably used as part of the ASPIRE incentive program. Details are still being finalized but it is very likely that the biggest change will be at the high school level where teachers whose students take an end of course test will, for the first time, receive individualized value-added reports.

 
12:43
What is your greatest concern about STAAR?
Time limit

 
 ( 0% )

EOCs/cumulative score

 
 ( 50% )

Accommodations

 
 ( 0% )

Number of testing dates

 
 ( 25% )

None of the above

 
 ( 25% )
 
Wednesday March 7, 2012 12:43 
12:43
Twitter
HoustonISD: 

Our panel is hard at work answering your questions about STAAR. Our live chat ends at 1 pm – log on now! http://t.co/9K0Ceb55 [via Twitter]

 
12:45
HISD: 

THe increased rigor of the assessments will definitely be a challenge for many students.

 
12:46
HISD: 

The district has therefore revamped its curriculum, and provided additional supports to help students succeed.

 
12:47
HISD: 

And administrators and teachers are receiving substantial amounts of professional development targeted at increasing success rates for students.

 
12:47
 
[Comment From HISD ParentHISD Parent: ] 

How will this affect our dropout rate?

 
12:47
HISD: 

(We answered this question above, it’s showing up out of order)

 
12:48
How are you staying informed about STAAR?
Web sites

 
 ( 38% )

Student’s teacher/principal

 
 ( 0% )

Other parents

 
 ( 0% )

Social media

 
 ( 0% )

Multiple sources

 
 ( 63% )
 
12:48
 
[Comment From FC007FC007: ] 

Are there any sample tests available?

 
12:49
HISD: 

Unfortunately there are none – there are sample questions posted on houstonisd.org/STAAR, just click on the resources tab.

 
12:49
HISD: 

TEA says it will release a sample test in 2014.

 
 
12:51
Tell us about yourself. Are you a(n):
HISD parent

 
 ( 63% )

HISD student

 
 ( 0% )

HISD staff member

 
 ( 0% )

Houston-area resident

 
 ( 38% )

Viewer from outside Houston

 
 ( 0% )
 
12:51
Twitter
HoustonISD: 

HISD experts: there are no sample STAAR tests available but sample questions are available at http://houstonisd.org/STAAR under the resources tab. [via Twitter]

 
12:52
 
[Comment From StevenSteven: ] 

If the TEA came up with this test, shouldn’t they already have a sample test? Or will the test be modified after the initial test results go back to them?

 
12:52
HISD: 

Every year TEA evaluates questions from field tests.

 
12:53
HISD: 

We wish there were a sample test – but the cost of developing and releasing items, because of the secure nature of the tests, was not considered by TEA as good use of taxpayer dollars.

 
 
12:54
 
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 

So, if multiple tests will be given to district students this year, which results will be used in federal accountability?

 
12:55
HISD: 

Reading and math for grades 3-8 (STAAR) and 10th grade TAKS.

 
12:56
HISD: 

The state will be developing an equivalent TAKS score for STAAR, which will indicate whether a student would have passed TAKS. This will be used for federal accountability.

 
12:56
Twitter
HoustonISD: 

STAAR chat poll: 50% of our Chat viewers are most concerned about STAAR end of course exams and the cumulative score. [via Twitter]

 
 
12:58
 
[Comment From HISD ParentHISD Parent: ] 

If EOC exam is taken and results in a failing grade in the course, the student can re-take the EOC exam. Does the score on the re-take of the EOC exam replace the original EOC score? In other words, can a better result on the re-take change the course grade?

 
12:59
HISD: 

Only the first administration of the EOC counts toward GPA, starting next year.

 
1:00
HISD: 

The requirement that End-of-course exams count for 15 percent of a student’s grade will go into effect next year, not this year.

 
1:00
HISD: 

HISD is recommending to the school board tomorrow night that the requirement be deferred.

 
1:00
 
[Comment From menjulmenjul: ] 

Private school is looking pretty good. Charters take the test too, right?

 
1:01
HISD: 

Yes, charters DO take STAAR tests.

 
1:01
HISD: 

As a private school director, I would be worried at this point because HISD is being held to higher standards of rigor and will provide more competition.

 
1:02
 
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 

Will it count for 15% every year this test in is effect?

 
1:02
HISD: 

That will be determined by the state Legislature in the next session.

 
1:02
Twitter
HoustonISD: 

HISD experts: Starting next year, only the first administration of the end of course exams in 9th-12th grade count towards GPA. [via Twitter]

 
1:02
HISD: 

Thank you for joining our discussion about STAAR. If we didn’t get to your question today, please send an email to STAAR@houstonisd.org and we will direct it to the appropriate department. You can find sample questions, videos, powerpoints, and testing dates at houstonisd.org/STAAR. We also have an FAQ web site where you can view previously answered questions and submit your own: hisdstaar.wordpress.com.

 
1:04
 
[Comment From StevenSteven: ] 

Thank you.

 
1:04
 
[Comment From LorieLorie: ] 

Thank you for taking the time to share this information with us.

 
1:04
Twitter
HoustonISD: 

Our live STAAR chat has concluded! Please continue to send your questions about the new statewide assessment to STAAR@houstonisd.org [via Twitter]

 
 
  
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