Speech Therapy: The STAAR

Special Ed. had a Christmas lunch today. It was really nice to "go to work" and see everyone. We had time to visit and then a short staff meeting. I think I'm going to use the excuse of "chemo brain" a lot! When we talked about needs, I completely forgot the name of the program we are using - it's SuccessEd - but I DID remember how difficult it is! Apparently, improvements have been made, and it's working better now.
                              Source: tea.state.tx.us via Laura on Pinterest

One of the agenda items was the STAAR, Texas's standardized test. Our third-graders through high schoolers take it. Most of my speech-only students take the STAAR, but there is a version called the STAAR-Modified, or STAAR-M. Part of the requirements are that a student has a disability significantly affecting academic progress. Sounds like some of my struggling language students to me.

Our director passed out examples of items on both tests. Can you tell which is a STAAR item and which is STAAR-M?

1A. Adam is 4.75 feet tall. He is 0.5 foot taller than Mark. How tall is Mark?
1B. Adam is 4.5 feet tall. He is 0.75 foot taller than his brother Mark. How tall is Mark?

2A. Why did Abdul-Jabbar wait until the Falcons lost a very close game before giving the team coaching advice?
2B. Why did Abdul-Jabbar wait until the Falcons lost a very close game before asserting himself as a coach?

3A. By saying that one of her sons "can walk too well in paragraph 5, the author implies that ____.
3B. In paragraph 5, the author writes that one of her sons "can walk too well". The reader can infer that _____.

Here are the answers:
1B is the STAAR item. It includes the irrelevant information that Mark is the brother and has math with regrouping.

2B is the STAAR item. "Asserting himself" is harder vocabulary.

3A is the STAAR item. It uses a more complicated sentence structure and the author's viewpoint rather than the reader's.

The point here is that there is not much difference between the two assessments. Vocabulary, main ideas and sentence structure are very important in preparing our students. These examples hit that idea home more than an eligibility comparison chart.

How does your state assess students? Are these questions similar?

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