Texas students get ready for a new challenge in STAAR test

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by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on December 6, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 6 at 11:48 PM

JUSTIN - Texas students have survived a battery of tests over the last 30 years.

TABS, TEAMS, TAAS, and TAKS.

Administrators say the alphabet soup of assessments has evolved into the toughest version yet - the STAAR test.

"It will be a higher order of thinking question," Edward Chevallier said. "They will have to use different thought processes to get to the response they need in order to be successful on the item."

Chevallier has been working with teachers in Northwest ISD for months to prepare them for the new challenge.

Previous tests included simple, one sentence questions. The 1982 TABS test used pictographs.

The STAAR will ask students to extract information from several sources.

"Students may have to go through multiple steps before they can get to the answer," Chevallier said. "Any one of those steps could lead them down a path that could lead them to an incorrect answer. So the challenge is a little bit different there."

At Northwest High School, teachers are asked to phrase their everyday test questions so they look a lot like what students will see on the STAAR test.

The district said it made those curriculum changes before the school year to give students and teachers time to adjust. Northwest also remains in contact with districts across the state to see how they're learning from the sample questions.

Like students, districts know the test is coming, and they all want to be prepared.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

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