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New changes made for upcoming S.T.A.A.R test, meant to decrease testing stress

Posted at 8:16 PM, Apr 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-05 19:31:24-04

The S.T.A.A.R test for Texas students will have a new design this year, as tests will be taken 100 percent online, with few exceptions for students needing accommodations.

It will also not be fully multiple choice anymore. Texas lawmakers changed the design of the test in 2019, and testing will take place in April and May.

Before the full online transition, more than 80 percent of test takers were already taking advantage of the online option. Some districts, like the Beeville Independent School District, have their students using the online mock assessments already, and told us they're hoping to see the benefit.

"This gives our students practice manipulating the tools they have available to them," the Beeville ISD Director of Elementary Curriculum Jennifer Hughes said.

The redesign will include cross curricular passages. That means whatever students are learning about in other subjects could be discussed in their reading and writing exams for familiarity purposes.

"Our students are so computer savvy and have been raised in a technology environment that it's not terrifying to them. Most of our students are not doing multiple choice activities within their classroom. The new redesign is geared towards using that work that they're familiar and comfortable with," Beeville ISD Director of Secondary Curriculum Diana Kroen said.

Having the assessment online means getting results back sooner. The online transition also allows for tools to be used during the test.

"Think of things like text to speech or speech to text, but also accommodations, like if a student wants to highlight a word they can do that to get the definition," Texas Education Agency spokesperson Jake Kobersky said.

Other changes include more short answer responses. This will give students partial credit for what they know rather than a wrong answer for a multiple choice question.

"This really allows for them a better opportunity to show, hey I understand this to a certain degree," Kobersky said.

The most important takeaway is that the S.T.A.A.R grade promotion has been eliminated as of 2021. No student will be held back for how they perform. The test is only meant to take away stress and better measure where students stand.