STATE OF TEXAS ASSESSMENTS OF ACADEMIC READINESS (STAAR)Grades 3−8 ReadingGrades 4 and 7 WritingEnglish I, II, and III Victoria Young Director of Reading, Writing, and Social Studies Assessments Texas Education Agency
STAAR Reading • STAAR reading assessments will emphasize students’ ability • to “go beyond” a literal understanding of what they read • to make connections within and across texts (“across texts” begins at grade 4 on STAAR but needs to begin much earlier instructionally) • to think critically/inferentially about different types of texts
STAAR Reading • STAAR reading assessments will emphasize students’ ability • to understand how to use text evidence to confirm the validity of their ideas (new on STAAR—understanding how text evidence works with poetry, drama, and persuasive pieces; e.g., text evidence for drama includes both dialogue and stage directions)
Student Success in Readingand on STAAR • Students must be provided in-depth instruction in all genres represented by the ELA/R TEKS • Students must learn to analyze both fiction and expository genres—the readiness genres—at elementary, middle, and high school • Instruction must emphasize critical/ inferential thinking rather than isolated skills • Students must be able to make connections between different genres and strands (and be able to “see” the thematic links)
Student Success in Readingand on STAAR • Students must understand the relationship between reading strategies and making meaning. • Students must learn to use reading strategies judiciously, especially given the 4-hour time limit.
STAAR Written Composition • Students will write two one-page essays (26 lines maximum) addressing different types of writing • Grade 4−personal narrative and expository • Grade 7−personal narrative (with extension) and expository • English I−literary and expository • English II−expository and persuasive • English III−persuasive and analytical • Essays will be weighted equally • No “gatekeeper” (automatic fail of the writing test for a 1)
STAAR Writing Prompts • Expository, persuasive, and analytical prompts contain a stimulus and are scaffolded: Read, Think, Write, Be Sure to −
STAAR Writing Prompts—Scaffolding • Read: A short synopsis of some kind or a quotation • Think: The synopsis or quotation generalized and reworded • Write: An even more focused rewording • Be Sure to: 4−5 bullets here (stating a clear thesis, organizing your writing, developing it, choosing words carefully, proofreading)
STAAR Analytical Essay • A combination of expository writing and interpretation of one aspect of a literary or expository text • Analytical prompts contain a literary or informational text (approximately 350−450 words), which students must analyze • Score based on the student’s ability to interpret the text and support it with relevant textual evidence (15C) AND quality of the writing (criteria under expository writing in 15A)
STAAR Personal Narrative • Personal narrative prompts contain a stimulus and are scaffolded, though less so than other prompts. • Grade 4—SE 17(A) write about important personal experiences • Grade 7—16(A) write a personal narrative that has a clearly defined focus and communicates the importance of or reasons for actions and/or consequences • Personal narratives must be based on students’ real experiences—they cannot be fictional! (Literary writing: 16[A] at grade 4 and 15[A] at grade 7.)
STAAR Literary Writing • Literary prompts (English I) also contain a stimulus and are scaffolded. • English I Knowledge and Skill Statement: Students write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas. • STAAR based on SE 14(A): write an engaging story with a well-developed conflict and resolution, interesting and believable characters, and a range of literary strategies (e.g., dialogue, suspense) and devices to enhance the plot • Literary responses can be real or fictional!
STAAR English I Literary Look at the photograph. PHOTOGRAPH Write a story about ____________. Be sure that your story is focused and complete and that it has an interesting plot and engaging characters.
STAAR Writing—What We’ve Learned So Far • Trends we noted across grades and courses during the scoring of the 2011 STAAR field tests • Form/purpose match. Many students scored 1s and 2s because their overall organizational structure and form did not match the purpose for writing or were weakly matched. Some students started out in the right form but then “drifted” into another purpose: • TAKS personal narrative instead of expository or persuasive • fantasy rather than personal narrative • expository rather than persuasive
STAAR Writing—What We’ve Learned So Far • Trends we noted across grades and courses from the 2011 field tests • Thesis. Having a central idea/controlling idea/thesis is essential in writing a focused and coherent expository, persuasive, or analytical piece. Personal narratives/literary pieces also need narrow focus. • The effect of one page. High scores require an economical use of space: tight, specific, logical development—no wasted words. Short, effective introduction and conclusion also a must. Bottom line: Both planning and revision are absolutely essential since students don’t have the space to “write their way into” a better piece.
STAAR Writing—What We’ve Learned So Far • Trends we noted across grades and courses from the 2011 field tests • Synthesizing across the Read, Think, Write. Some students scored 1s and 2s because they could not move from the stimulus (the “Read”) to the generalization (the “Think”) to the charge (the “Write about”). Students who did not synthesize information across the prompt tended to have these problems: • getting stuck in the stimulus • ignoring the charge and writing only about the “Think” statement
In a Nutshell—Lower Score Range • Typical problems we noted in papers falling in the lower score range (1s and 2s) • Wrong organizational structure/form for purpose • Weak, evolving, or nonexistent thesis • Wasted space: repetition, wordiness, extraneous details or examples, looping/meandering, meaningless introductions and conclusions • Inclusion of too many different ideas for 1 page • General/vague/imprecise use of language or inappropriate tone for purpose • Essay poorly crafted • Weak conventions
In a Nutshell—Higher Score Range • Typical strengths we noted in papers falling in higher score range (3s and 4s) • Strong match between structure/form and purpose • Explicit thesis • “Narrow and deep” development—no wasted words or space Think quality over quantity! • Introduction and conclusion short but effective • Specific use of language and appropriate tone for purpose • Essay well crafted • Strong conventions
What’s Coming • New STAAR Content Resources Webpage with • assessed curriculum • definitions of readiness and supporting standards • test blueprints • test design schematics • sample reading selections and questions • sample writing passages and questions • writing and reading rubrics • “mini” scoring guides Test questions and rubrics posted by September 29th.
CONTACT INFORMATION Victoria Young Director of Reading, Writing, and Social Studies Assessments Texas Education Agency 512-463-9536 email@example.com