Frequently Asked Questions
Required STAAR tests vary by grade level as follows:
- mathematics and reading — Grades 3-8
- writing — Grades 4 and 7
- science — Grades 5 and 8
- social studies — Grade 8
- STAAR end-of-course assessments (required for high school graduation) include algebra I, biology, English I, English II, and U.S. history.
Two types of test questions are released for the STAAR program — sample questions and test forms. Sample test questions are small subsets of test questions released from the STAAR test banks. These test questions may have been previously administered. A test form is a set of test questions previously administered together, which reflects the STAAR test blueprints. To see sample test questions visit the Released Test Questions page.
The STAAR English I and English II assessments have a five-hour time limit. All other STAAR assessments have a four-hour time limit. Cases in which students may require extra time or other special accommodations will be decided individually and must be arranged and approved before test day.
For students with special needs, the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee makes the decision for each student based on the disability. These may be online tests, testing supports, or other allowable accommodations approved in advance. More information can be found on the Accommodation Resources page.
Language Proficiency Assessment Committees (LPACs) decide what kinds of accommodations make sense for English language learners (ELLs). STAAR Spanish may be right for students in bilingual programs who are receiving most of their academic instruction in Spanish, or sometimes for an ELL in an ESL program. Decisions about which students meet the participation requirements are made on a case-by-case basis. Visit the LPAC Resources page.
The basic checklist for parents to help their child be ready for STAAR tests includes:
- Setting regular teacher meetings to discuss goals
- Reviewing sample STAAR questions and tests available
- Practicing at home with free online tutorials and learning tools
- Making sure your child gets a good night’s sleep the night before test day
The STAAR test provides scores for students using both scale scores and raw scores. The basic score on any test is the raw score, which is simply the number of questions answered correctly. Scale scores convert the raw score onto a scale that is common to all test forms for that assessment, taking into account the difficulty level of the specific questions on the test. It scores a student’s performance according to passing standards or proficiency levels. To learn more, visit the STAAR Performance Standards page.
Accountability refers to the yearly process used by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to evaluate and rate the performance of public school districts and campuses. State accountability ratings are largely based on student results on state assessments. These results are reported on a Consolidated Accountability File (CAF), which includes a record for every student in the state. Separate CAF Files are generated for use at the state, region, and district level.