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Few, but significant changes made to STAAR testing

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Students have been taking the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test since the 2011-2012 school year.

Now that the state has begun to see implications of the exams, changes have been made to improve the standardized testing of 3rd through 8th grade students.

Argyle ISD Assistant Superintendent Chris Daniel says the biggest change includes the introduction of new math TEKS and a new Math textbook adoption.

“We have new math and science textbooks,” Daniel said. “Every hard copy of a book has an online version which comes with embedded videos, practice problems, and other supplementary material.”

The Texas Education Agency has rewritten the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Mathematics.

Many of the math standards or TEKS have moved either up or down a grade. For example, fifth grade will not have divisibility rules within the curriculum. Divisibility rules has moved to third grade.

Because of this change, all districts will only be receiving each student’s raw score. TEA will review all of the scores in the summer of 2015 and set new performance standards. Once that is complete, then the district will receive a passing/non-passing report.

Additionally, students in grades 5 and 8 will be waived from the Student Success Initiative (SSI) for only this school year. In other words, they will not be required to pass the math portion of the STAAR test to move to the next grade.

Another change to this year’s STAAR testing affects the seventh grade students taking eighth grade level math courses.

According to Daniel, Pre-AP seventh graders from across the state will be required to take the 8th grade level STAAR math exam. By choice, Argyle Middle School students were already taking this exam, but now it is being required state-wide.

Daniel says it is important for parents to stay up to date with what their child is doing in class.

“One way they (parents) can help is by taking advantage of the digital resources that are available through this new textbook adoption,” Daniel said. “It’s not just a pdf version of the textbook online, but there are interactive elements as well.”

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