Spring is quickly approaching, and Texas public schools are gearing up for the STAAR. The anxiety-building state assessment, loved by students, parents, administrators, and teachers, well, maybe not. The STAAR does not need to be feared or hated; it is a playable exam that any student can pass only knowing the correct response to five questions.
Keep reading if you would like to understand how.
The following “plan to pass” was developed with the collaboration of a group of my cohorts. I want to communicate what we found while compiling released STAAR data from the state of Texas.
This plan is designed to improve the scores of students and have a 100 percent passing rate.
This plan was devised for 5th-grade math students in a Texas public school. Please do your research and do what is best for your students.
Fifth-grade math success plan and how to get 100 percent passing.
Historically, a student must answer seventeen questions correctly on the STAAR fifth grade math test to pass.
Except for the grid questions, the majority of problems are multiple-choice. I will refer to these as A, B, C, or D, to keep confusion to a minimum for non-educator readers. Each year the correct answers are distributed among A, B, C, or D, consistently.
We found that “A” is the right choice 12 to 14 times, “B” is correct 12 to 14 times, with “C” and “D” following suit. So, if a student were to answer only “A,” he or she would have 12 to 14 answers correct.
Teachers are aware that this could show a vast improvement for some students who historically are sub-ten correct answers. This improvement would be celebrated but would fall short of the goal of having 100 percent passing being 17 correct is the magic passing number.
Teachers know what is assessed on the STAAR test and what the questions look like. We can use this knowledge to help “play” the test to get to 100 percent passing.
It is all about the TEKS’ verbs.
The STAAR will assess TEKS with the “simple” verbs. These TEKS require the student to perform simple one-step tasks like identifying. These quick questions, coupled with the consistent distribution of correct answers among “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” are the key to 100 percent student success.
All students, I believe, through rote memory and conditioning, can find success on these questions that consist of concrete knowledge and recall.
We found five to seven questions we considered “easy verb” questions each year while examining the released tests.
Playing the STAAR.
When a student receives the STAAR assessment, he or she will answer the easy verb questions first. The student will be able to identify these due to the conditioning and the familiarity of working with released questions focused on the same TEK during class.
The student will only answer the questions he is 100% confident of the answer. There must not be any guessing.
Once at the end of the exam, the student should have at least five to eight questions answered. Again, these concrete knowledge questions are the keys to passing.
With these questions answered, the student will close the test booklet. The student will now examine the bubble sheet, aka answer document. Once the student determines where the majority of his or her correct answer are on the bubble sheet, he or she is ready for the last step to passing the STAAR.
Last step to success.
Let us imagine that the student is 100 percent sure of six of his answers. Let us assume that these correct answers fell on the “B,” “C,” and “D” column of the answer document.
With our knowledge that historically “A” is the right answer twelve to fourteen times, if the student bubbles straight down “A,” excluding his right answers, he will pass the STAAR with 18 to 20 correct.
Does it work?
With lots of focus on those few TEKS and having students understand the plan, it can succeed.