Posts Tagged ‘Mathematics’

How Well Did Our Math Resources Align to Our TEKS?

Friday, September 25th, 2015

AUTHOR: Virginia Keasler, Math Education Specialist & Susan Hemphill, Math Education Specialist

K-8 mathematics teachers have entered their second year with the new math TEKS while high school teachers are adopting updated math TEKS this year, with the possibility of new resources on the horizon.

What are some things to consider in matching up resources with the new TEKS?

In comparing the TEKS with our resources we should keep in mind exactly what the student expectation is asking. One way to do this is to break the student expectation into key concepts that we know we will need to deliver. Your district may have already broken down the SEs into key concepts for you. If not be sure to pay close attention to all the details in the SE. Keep in mind when lesson planning that these are the key concepts that need to be taught.

The next step is to look at your resources and note whether it covers all, some, or more of the key concepts than expected. Also check the depth and complexity of what is included in the resource. For example, if your TEKS have students using an operation to solve a problem, your resource should not just have them identify what operation is used to solve that problem. Check to make sure the verb of your SE matches the level in your resource.

The following SE is used as a model here. Again, you may not have time to formally write these down but keep in mind that all of these concepts must be included in your lesson planning.

4.2E: Represent decimals, including tenths and hundredths, using concrete and visual models and money.o Represent decimals to the tenths using concrete models.

o Represent decimals to the tenths using visual models.

o Represent decimals to the tenths using money.

o Represent decimals to the hundredths using concrete models.

o Represent decimals to the hundredths using visual models.

o Represent decimals to the hundredths using money.

Process StandardsAs you review your resources, consider evaluating your process standards, the released STAAR items from 2015, and your models and tools used to deliver the TEKS.

All math courses have the same process standards now from K-12. Our state assessments dual code process standards and content standards with each item. Did your resource take this factor into account? Do you need to add more to make it align?

Released STAAR Items from 2015

Released items from TEA are examples of dual-coded problems with process and content standards. It is important to refer to the released items as you review your resource. Released STAAR Items for 2015 Link 


In reading your TEKS, are all the models and the tools stated included in the resource and do they provide enough experiences for your students to have mastery? Our example above has concrete and visual models, so both must be included for this resource to be fully aligned.

We hope you will use some of these ideas this year as you acquire new resources.  Now it’s your turn….go forth and align!

STEM Essential Elements to STEMify the Classroom

Friday, September 25th, 2015

AUTHOR: Dr. Grant Kessler,  STEM Specialist – Curriculum & Instruction

An important goal for all students — regardless of interest in focused STEM content — is STEM literacy. There is an increasingly technical aspect to almost everything in which we engage, both at work and in our daily lives; students will need STEM literacy to be successful in their personal and professional futures. Therefore, STEM literacy should be emphasized across all grade levels and subject areas.

What does this means for education? As educators, we must prepare our students to thrive in a STEM-based world by integrating STEM into our work whenever possible. Students must learn how to appropriately utilize the Internet, demonstrate the confidence to learn new technologies, be mathematically functional and able to apply scientifically-sound thinking, and be capable and self-sufficient problem-solvers.

Well-designed learning experiences encourage students to quickly see the importance and applicability of STEM; students and educators should view the STEM components as working in tandem. A STEM-ified lesson is not just science or technology or engineering or math; it includes notions of science and technology and engineering and math. Importantly, not every component has to be in every lesson. Instead a blending of the four components, which allow students to make real-world connections, is what works well in practice.

STEM education should provide an engaging and problem-driven process for students to learn. This approach is effective and transferable across all content areas for all students. Schools can improve and encourage STEM literacy in a number of ways, from a single classroom to a district-wide initiative. The key element of STEM learning is the integration of the four core subjects into larger, cross-disciplinary projects designed for students to solve problems and gain real world insights. We seek to avoid imparting fragmented pieces of knowledge with no application.

Implementing STEM into the classroom begins with organizing and delivering learning experiences in such a way that students understand the connections within and between content areas, see relevance in their learning, and build capacity through authentic utilization of 21st century and content skills. The STEM Essentials provide the platform from which teachers can STEMify student learning while using a variety of delivery approaches.


By implementing STEM best practices, educators can provide meaningful real-world learning experiences that go beyond the classroom and become transferable skills that are necessary for students to be competitive in the global economy. Explore the STEM Essentials & Their Key Components document and consider how they can be used to align current instruction with the end goal of STEMifying instruction.

Transformation Central Texas STEM Center will publish a straightforward and practical process for educators to STEMify learning for all students in the book, “A Blueprint for Building a STEM Program: Integrate, Innovate, Inspire.” For more information visit This resource is highly recommended for educators of all content areas, pre-K through grade 12.

For resources, strategic planning and implementation support, contact Grant Kessler ( at Region 13.

Understanding the Geometry STAAR EOC

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Author: Emily Gray, Secondary Math Specialist

As we enter our second year of STAAR EOC exams, many of our mathematics students and teachers will be faced with the challenge of an End-of-Course exam in Geometry.  While the Algebra exams are relatively easy to understand (nearly all of the Algebra I TEKS have been tested before, and none of the Algebra II TEKS have ever been tested), the transition from the assessed Geometry TEKS on TAKS to the Geometry STAAR EOC is not so easy to understand.  Let’s look at a few facts to help illustrate this transition.

FACT: The Exit Level TAKS test has some Geometry questions on it.  The graphic below illustrates the percent of questions on the Exit Level TAKS that come from Grade 8, Algebra I, and Geometry TEKS.

The intention of the Exit Level TAKS test was to be a comprehensive exam over a broad range of topics.  The STAAR EOC exams, on the other hand, are designed to target the material from only one year of content in much greater depth.

FACT: The Exit Level TAKS test did not cover all of the Geometry TEKS. 

As you can see above, the Exit Level TAKS tested 51% of the Student Expectations (SEs) outlined in the Geometry TEKS, while on the STAAR EOC for Geometry 97% of the SEs will be eligible for testing.

FACT: On Exit Level TAKS, all SEs were created equal.  This usually translated to every SE eligible for testing being tested once, or occasionally twice.  This is not the case on any of the STAAR exams.  For STAAR, standards are designated as Readiness or Supporting.  For Geometry, 12 standards are deemed Readiness standards and will comprise 60-65% of the test (or 31-34 questions).  It seems likely then, that these standards will be assessed two, three, or even four times.  The remaining 24 Student Expectations eligible for testing will comprise 18-21 of the test questions.  Clearly, some of these standards will not be tested in a given year (although they may reappear the next year).

FACT: Knowing is half the battle!  You’ve taken the right first step by reading this article!  Want to know more?  Visit Region XIII’s STAAR Website ( or TEA’s STAAR Website ( to get even more information.  Want more that’s Geometry-specific?  Start by taking the FREE one-hour online course through Region XIII titled “Geometry STAAR EOC – I Can’t Believe They’re Testing the Whole Thing”.   To register for this course, go to , login or sign-up for an account, and search for Workshop # FA1224480.  Click “Register” at the bottom of the page to get started!