Navigating the TEA’s Website

These blogs will be a series in navigating the TEA’s website. Check back regularly as we update our blogposts every couple of weeks!

This week we are going to tackle the STAAR test, how to find information about the STAAR, and what it means for your child. Keep on reading!

TEA's website can be a parent's nightmare

Teachers and parents alike bemoan the intricacies of the Texas Education Agency’s website. It is by no means an easy website to navigate, and we would go so far as to say that the user experience of it is left…lacking. That’s why we’re going to break it down for you in this post. 

First off...what's the TEA?

The TEA is the Texas Education Agency, a branch of the Texas government that is run by the commissioner of education, Mike Morath (find out more about him here) . This agency is who determines what your child’s education will be during his or her time in public school. They also determine rules and regulations for Texas regarding education.

The TEA’s website is a hub for necessary information regarding k12 education in Texas. School districts use it, tutors use it, and parents are now realizing the benefits of understanding the ins and outs of finding helpful information about what goes on during the school year! There are many hidden, helpful tools that the TEA utilizes on their website that you may not have known were available to you. So, let’s break some of those down!

The STAAR Test

What's on it?

The STAAR Test (the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness) is a test which assesses whether a child is performing at grade level in reading, math, science, history, etc. It is composed of content that your child learned during the school year. Find out how to locate practice tests below!

How to locate Practice STAAR Tests (on your smartphone!)

Printing the STAAR practice tests and administering them to students is essential in finding out where students’ weak points are and honing in on those trouble areas. At Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep, every child we tutor who falls within the 3rd-12th grade range receives detailed instruction about the STAAR. 

We also host workshops in Reading and Math each school year prior to the administering of the STAAR tests in those subjects. 

When is the STAAR test?

  • The TEA has posted date ranges that school districts across Texas adhere to when determining when to administer the STAAR Test. The exact dates can be found online at your child’s school district or school. Syllabuses are also great resources in finding out precisely when your child takes the STAAR. 

If you want to find out how each district administers the STAAR and when they need to provide your child each test, please read the STAAR Manual here. It is a very detailed breakdown of:

  • Accomodations
  • Test security
  • Dates
  •  Time limits
  • And much, MUCH more!

How the scores are broken down

The TEA has provided a website for parents to find information about their child’s scores and how to interpret those scores. Find that website here. 

The confidential report card you receive will have a breakdown of scores that will be labeled as Proficiency levels. You will also see a raw score and a scaled score. The difference is that a raw score is merely the amount of questions compared to the amount of questions answered correctly. The scaled score takes into account each question’s difficulty. Here is what you will need to know about the STAAR Report Card Proficiency standards you will see:

  1. Masters grade level
  2. Meets grade level
  3. Approaches grade level (but still passes the test)
  4. Did not meet grade level
Level 3 and 5 mean that your child will receive accelerated learning in the subject matter he or she performed below grade level. The goal of the STAAR is to ultimately make certain your child is on track to be college ready by the time he or she graduates high school.

What happens if my child fails?

Don’t panic. 

Failing the STAAR test does not automatically mean the child will need to repeat a grade. It is determined by the school administrators and the teacher of the subject your child did not pass. There are a lot of options for children who do not pass the STAAR, and holding a child back is not typically the first option educators choose. There are factors like:

  • The student’s grade in the course
  • The student’s listed accommodations
  • How well the student performs in other classes
  • The grade of the student (the End of Course tests, or EOCs are a bit different than the STAAR test for elementary – middle school students)
  • Potential retests

There is not a black-and-white answer for this. Students will receive intense in-school lessons in the areas that he or she did not meet grade level standards. It’s confusing for parents, and that’s why we don’t want you to have to deal with it! Contact us for a STAAR accelerated tutoring schedule. 

The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)

The TEKS are what Texas educations follow when teaching your child. They are very detailed and very long, but important to understand. We want parents to understand what your child will be tested on, instead of just relying on teachers to notify students through instruction. Teachers are definitely spread thin when it comes to the classroom size in Texas cities, and one-on-one tutoring following the TEKS guidelines helps students synthesize information directly. To see a breakdown of the TEKS for your child’s grade, click here.

The STAAR tests students on their understanding of what is taught during the school year, and the TEKS determines what your child is taught. Therefore, our tutors base our lesson plans on the TEKS guidelines!

ACT to EDUCATE! We believe that teachers are lifelong learners. We want to see how YOU help teach your peers, other students, family, community, etc. Enter our contest giveaway by clicking the button titled “Enter Here!”.

 

Would you, or your student, benefit from our academic services offered in Austin, Dallas, South and Central Texas? Contact us today to receive information regarding our SAT Test Prep. Curious about what we offer in addition to SAT Test Prep tutoring? Click here to visit our website at www.plantingseedstutoring.com. You can also contact Planting Seeds Tutoring with your questions at (972) 342-6496, or via email at plantingseedstutoring@gmail.com.

Do you or your student require tutoring in another subject? Please check out our list of Core Subjects to find out what we offer. Additionally, visit our blog to keep up with new and exciting content, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.