‘Testing it out’ State changes STAAR regulations

‘Testing it out’ State changes STAAR regulations

Rebecca June Taggart, News Editor

Because of House Bills 3609 and 3261, the STAAR was redesigned for the 2022-23 school year.
“The changes to the test include multiple new item types as well as more rigorous questions,” seventh grade English teacher Haley Owen said. “Supposedly, this is to allow students more avenues to demonstrate their understanding of concepts.”
House Bill 3906 established a “multiple choice cap,” meaning that no more than 75% of points on a STAAR test can be based on multiple choice questions.
“In my English II class, we work on STAAR packets that include short answer questions, since there are going to be more of those on the redesigned test,” sophomore Kelly Howard said.
Reading Language Arts assessments will assess both reading and writing and will include new question types, as well as, an essay at every grade level.
“For third graders there are a lot of changes coming on the new redesigned RLA STAAR test,” third grade teacher Jessica Deerinwater said. “My students need to be prepared for paired passages and a drama along with all the genres that have been tested in previous years.”
The third graders will also be tested on revising and editing and will be expected to write a well developed response to a text. The response will have to be typed.
“In years past, typing is not a skill we have focused on in third grade, but this year we have had to make adjustments to fit that in,” she said. “We have also spent a lot more class time writing.”
According to Owen, teachers weren’t aware of the specific changes until October.
“It [STAAR redesign] has delayed STAAR prep this year because the state was unclear about the format of the new assessment until the middle of the first semester,” she said.
Owen said the unclarity of the test affects the students themselves.

This is the best thing that could have happened.

— District assessment coordinator

“Students feel frustrated and under prepared, since there is a lack of resources with the new type of questions and an essay rubric has not been released,” Owen said.
The STAAR test will also be untimed this year. Students may continue testing until the end of the school
“This is the best thing that could have happened,” Vicki Lopez, district assessment coordinator, said. “The pressure and test anxiety are removed and this allows the students to pace themselves at their own speed in completing the STAAR test.”
Howard said there are pros and cons to the redesign.
“The new questions are better in preparing students for future because jobs will require you to be able to summarize,” she said. “It is hard on students because it is adding another layer of things they need to learn and understand.”