Updated July 2014
Finally, word prediction is not considered cheating and is allowed on year-end assessments in PARCC states, Texas, and Virginia.
For years, students have relied on word prediction as an essential writing accommodation. Yet, until now, only a few states allowed it to be used as a testing accommodation. The PARCC testing consortium (plus Texas and Virginia) is opening up word prediction as an individualized accommodation. This opens up an opportunity for you to give your students equitable access to show what they know on the test.
Ruth Ziolkowski shares the latest guidance so you don’t miss out on this opportunity. She also demonstrates Co:Writer word prediction, shows student before and after assessment examples, and explains how the settings can be adjusted to comply with your state’s guidelines.
About the Presenter
Ruth Ziolkowski is President of Don Johnston Incorporated and the ATIA Board Member liaison between the assessment consortia and assistive technology field.
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Watch OnlineTags: Assessments, Co:Writer Universal, On-Demand Webinars, PARCC, SOL, STAAR, Testing Accommodations, Texas, Virginia, Webinar, Webinar Recording, Word Prediction, Writing, Writing Accommodations, Writing Tool
Texas STAAR Test Prep
About Texas’s K-12 Standardized Tests
Are your kids preparing for the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, known as STAAR? STAAR tests measure the progress of students from 3rd grade to 8th grade, as well as high school. Texas STAAR test results provide actionable data that will help parents, teachers, and students improve academic performance in reading/language arts, math, writing, science, and social studies. STAAR tests are also used in evaluating each school’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
Time4Learning and Time4Writing—two online services that teach many of the STAAR test skills—offer this page to support your research on the best ways to help your kids with STAAR practice and preparation.
STAAR Tests at a Glance
Texas public school students take the STAAR tests in grades 3-8 and high school. STAAR tests are aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) learning standards. These Texas state standards define what Texas students should learn in every grade.
At high school, 12 end-of-course (EOC) assessments are used: Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, English II, English III, world geography, world history, and U.S. history. The STAAR tests taken in 11th grade are called Exit Level STAAR. Students must pass the Exit Level STAAR in English language arts, math, science, and social studies in order to graduate. Students who do not pass the eleventh grade Exit Level STAAR have multiple chances to retake the test(s).
The annual STAAR testing is administered as follows:
Grades 3–8 Assessments
Grades 3–5 Spanish Assessments
How Texas STAAR Tests Are Scored
STAAR assessments are criterion-referenced tests based on TEKS learning standards. Students’ STAAR scores are determined by how well they have mastered grade-specific skills, rather than comparing their performance to other test takers. The Texas STAAR tests report students’ proficiency in each subject, using the following three levels:
- Did Not Meet the Standard
- Met the Standard
- Commended Performance
The goal is for all students to meet or exceed Texas state standards. STAAR Performance Level Descriptors explain what is required to achieve “Met the Standard” and “Commended Performance” for every subject, and help parent and caregivers support their child’s progress.
Meeting Texas state standards is especially important in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grades. Third grade students must pass STAAR reading in order to be promoted to 4th grade. In fifth and eighth grades, students must pass both STAAR reading and STAAR math to be promoted to the next grade. Students have three opportunities to retake test(s) and receive remedial help if they don’t pass.
Other Texas Standardized Tests
Texas uses a balanced range of assessments to promote learning for all students. The State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness–Alternate, or STAAR–Alt is designed to measure the progress of students with severe cognitive disabilities. Students receiving special education services may qualify for the STAAR–M, an alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards. All students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) take the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) tests, which measure progress in English language acquisition. Spanish-speaking students may also take STAAR in Spanish for up to three years. Linguistically Accommodated Testing (LAT) is provided to assist LEP students in overcoming language barriers and to provide a meaningful assessment of knowledge and skills. STAAR L is a linguistically accommodated English version of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) grades 3–8 and end-of-course (EOC) mathematics, science, and social studies assessments. STAAR L is provided for English language learners (ELLs) who meet participation requirements for a substantial degree of linguistic accommodation in these subject areas.
NAEP in Texas
Texas also participates annually in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the Nation’s Report Card, where a sampling of students (from grades 4, 8, and/or 12) are tested in several content areas as part of a nationally representative assessment of student performance.
A good resource is the Texas Department of Education’s assessment webpage.
Preparing for the Texas STAAR
For general tips on test preparation, please visit our standardized test overview page.
The real preparation for the STAAR tests, or any standardized test, begins with your commitment to your children’s education throughout their school years. Devote time and effort to helping your children learn. Start by making sure your kids do their homework and read every day. Many families also employ tutors or an online learning program, such as Time4Learning, to build fundamental skills.
When preparing for standardized tests, students often benefit from test prep programs and books, which offer guidance and practice with test formats, time restrictions, test-taking strategies (when to guess, when not to), and different types of questions. For instance, when a reading passage is followed by comprehension questions, many test prep programs teach students to scan the questions first in order to know what areas of the passage requires close reading. Time4Learning is not a test prep program; it is a program that builds the skills that will be tested.
Time4Learning is a new approach that takes advantage of today’s technology. It’s a convenient, online home education program that combines learning with fun educational teaching games.
The online language arts and math curriculum comprise a comprehensive program for preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Science and social studies programs are provided as a free bonus for most grades.
Time4Writingprovides highly effective, 8-week writing courses online that help elementary, middle and high school students build writing skills through one-on-one interaction with a certified teacher.
Kids like using the computer to learn and to develop their skills. Time4Learning’s educational teaching games give students independence as they progress at their own pace.
Parents like that it tracks progress and helps kids advance by teaching through individualized learning paths that assure mastery of the skills and concepts that makes kids succeed.
Have a child with math and language arts skills at different grade levels? No problem, just tell us in the online registration process.
Time4Learning is proven effective, has a low monthly price, and provides a money-back guarantee so you can be sure that it works for your family, risk free!
For more information and resources on Texas Education, visit: