Texas Tests for Public School Students

This blog post will be a summation of our most popular blog features of 2019 thus far! We present to you: Texas Tests for Public School Students. This blog post will tell you of the intricacies of the TEA’s (the Texas Education Agency’s) breakdown of tests for students in the form of the STAAR test, the College Board’s SAT (more than just a Texas thing, y’all) and the ACT. We will also talk about the TSI, and other tests that will helpfully hope you navigate through common misconceptions of these tests. 

Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep offers one-on-one and group tutoring to help prepare students for these tests: 

  • The STAAR Test
  • The SAT
  • The ACT
  • The TSI
  • The AP Test

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. 


What is the SAT?

The SAT, or the Suite of Assessments, is a college-readiness standardized test which most students in the United States complete either their junior or senior year. The test covers Reading, Writing and Language, Math, and an optional essay. The test is created by CollegeBoard and administered multiple times throughout the year and in many locations. 

The SAT scores students on their college readiness based on questions created to encompass a wide range of knowledge from what students are taught throughout high school and the basics learned in the freshman year of most colleges. 


Practice Tests

Check out the free information regarding the SAT preparation tests, apps, and tips on CollegeBoard’s website here. Once you have familiarized yourself with information regarding the test, take some practice tests found here.

Don’t worry if your first practice test is hard – we’re here to help! At Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep, we take the complications out of studying for the SAT because we provide consistent after-school instruction for you or your student, multiple times a week. We also assign our students homework because we know that repetition is key to long-term success and information retrieval. Contact us today for a tailored approach to success on your SAT.

To register for the SAT, please click here for information on the next test date.



The ACT is also a college readiness assessment used by many higher education institutions to determine admission and scholarship eligibility. The ACT is hosted by ACT Inc. (it was once known as the American College Test, but the company and test were changed to just ACT in the late 90s) and was recently chosen by more US high school students and their college assessment of choice over the SAT. 

The ACT is shorter text overall, however, more topics are covered in the test. Math, English, Reading, Science Reasoning, and an optional essay. 

For more detailed information regarding how the ACT and SAT compare, check out ACT’s website here.

To find out how to register for the ACT and when the next test dates are, click here for ACT’s official website.


Practice Tests

The ACT offers plenty of resources to start studying early in your high school years. Click here for ACT’s overview of study material (titled ACT Academy) and practice tests. Contact us to boost your, or your student’s, confidence when taking this difficult test. A higher score on the ACT can positively change your future – and get you into the college of your dreams. Let us help you get there!


What’s the TSI?

The TSI, or the Texas Success Initiative, is a required test for all incoming Texas college students which assesses a student’s college readiness. It tests the student in Math, Reading, and Writing. If a student makes below a certain cumulative score, he or she may be required to either retest or opt for developmental courses in college. 

The requirements to pass the TSI are as follows:

  • Reading – 351
  • Mathematics – 350
  • Writing
    • a score of 340, and an essay score of 4 or,
    • a score of less than 340 as well as an ABE Diagnostic level of 4 as well as an essay score of 5

Do I need to take the TSI?

There are many ways to qualify for an exemption from the TSI. For a complete list, please visit the College For All Texans website here or the Texas Higher Education Coordinator Board’s website here.

  •  23 + on the ACT composite score with 19 on English and Math
  •  Score on the SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW)section a minimum score of 480 and a Mathematics minimum score of 530
  • Transfer with satisfactory college credit into a Texas institution
  • Veteran or military service within the last 3 years
It’s important to note that the TSI does not replace the SAT or ACT tests.

Where do I take the TSI?

If you are a high school student, it may be that your high school is certified to administer the TSI to you or your student, or a local higher education facility (such as a community college or local university). 

Practice, practice, practice!

Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep will assess your college readiness when we meet and gauge where we need to spend the most study time – guaranteeing that your money and time are both well spent. Our desire is to see you succeed in all your life’s endeavors, and we want you to begin your college career with a great start. Take note – a developmental course at a college is usually just as expensive as a complete college course, however it does not count towards your degree. That means that you can save money by starting your higher education endeavors with Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep!

Want to practice some TSI questions on your own? Check out some sample questions here

The AP Tests

The AP Test

The Advanced Placement tests are a hallmark of high school education as a preemptive look at how well a student performs at a collegiate level. Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep helps students prepare for the AP subject test by:

  • consistently covering subject material
  • implementing test-taking strategies
  • providing students practice tests

These instruction techniques guarantee confidence in facing the AP tests. Contact us today for information regarding AP test prep and tutoring. We offer tutoring services in-personal and online in Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.

What is the AP Test?

The Advanced Placement Test, or AP test for short, is an assessment given to high school students upon completion of an Advanced Placement course. The test differs on subjects and is provided by CollegeBoard.

The AP test is used to determine if a student has mastered a particular subject. A high score on an AP test (typically understood as a 3 or above) can benefit your student in several ways:

  • It can transfer as credit to a college or university
  • It can save you money
  • It can provide students an academic edge over their peers

All of these qualities of the AP test can be utilized for your student – so long as he or she maintains a good grade in the class and receives a high score on the subject test. That’s where Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep can help – we provide our students with the confidence to master the AP test by instructing them through rigorous AP test prep.To see what AP courses are available to students, check out CollegeBoard’s official website. To find out what your local schools offer, you will need to check with your (or your student’s) high school registrar or counsellor. 

Students will also need to check their desired college or university to see if AP tests can count as a completed course towards their degree. In order to find out what courses are accepted at a specific university or college, try contacting the transfer admissions help desk at the specified facility. 

To receive college credit for an AP test score, your scores must be sent to the institution through CollegeBoard. To find out more, please review the CollegeBoard’s website

Test Dates and Registration

The AP test is created by CollegeBoard and usually administered in the beginning weeks of May. You can find the official AP website here.

The official CollegeBoard website provides a list of the different dates by which the student must submit documentation to take the AP test, particularly those with disabilities requiring testing accommodations, or for those who are homeschooled or unable to take the AP course at their high school. Click here to see a list of dates provided by CollegeBoard to ensure your student is on top of all the deadlines associated with taking his or her AP test. 

When considering which tests to take, please note that each exam typically costs $94, but test cost may vary depending on fees. There are fee reductions available to students facing a financial hardship. Click here to find out more. 

Practice Questions

CollegeBoard offers students a list of practice questions in multiple subjects on their website, found here. There are additional practice tests and questions provided through many other avenues, which our tutors readily use when preparing our students for the AP subject tests. Contact us today for a detailed, specialized approach to mastering the AP subject content, and an engaging AP test prep course through Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep!

*The information in this blog is intended for tests prep updated as of mid-2019 and may not reflect accurate information for recent changes.*

Would You Benefit from Tutoring?

Would you, or your student, benefit from our in-home or online tutoring offered in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio? Absolutely! Contact us today to receive information regarding tutoring for English, Reading, Math, Science, History, and Test Prep. Curious about what subjects we teach? 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.