The Texas Education Agency (TEA) released the revised test blueprints and assessed curriculum documents for science on May 22, 2018. They are posted to the TEA STAAR Science Resources webpage and include documents for Grade 5 science, Grade 5 Spanish science, Grade 8 science, and Biology.
STAAR Science Resources Webpage: https://tea.texas.gov/student.assessment/staar/science/
How can I use these documents?
Together the blueprints and assessed curriculum documents provide invaluable information for science teachers. Knowing the number of total test items, reporting category totals, and the percentage of readiness standard questions versus supporting standard questions can help focus planning so you make the most of your instructional time. The documents inform science teachers not only in the testing grades, but can guide vertical alignment planning efforts across grade levels.
The blueprints contain information about the STAAR tests including:
- Total number of questions on the test
- Number of questions from each reporting category
- Breakdown for each category of readiness and supporting standards
- A reminder that at least 40% of the test questions are dual coded. A dual coded question incorporates scientific investigation and reasoning skills standards along with content standards. These scientific investigation and reasoning skills standards are the process standards that focus on conducting investigations, safe lab practices, critical thinking, and using scientific tools. An example of a scientific investigation and reasoning skills standard from biology is B.3 – the student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving to make informed decisions within and outside the classroom.
ASSESSED CURRICULUM DOCUMENTS
The assessed curriculum documents list all tested TEKS eligible for testing. For the 5th and 8th grade tests the assessed curriculum documents also indicate which lower grade supporting standards are associated with the grade level standards. For example, in 5th grade Reporting Category 3 (Earth and Space) contains TEKS 5.7 and 5.8 as well as 4.7, 4.8, 3.7, and 3.8. The assessed curriculum documents also identify which of the TEKS are readiness standards and which are supporting standards.
What’s the difference between readiness and supporting standards?
(60-65% of questions)
(35-40% of questions)
|• emphasize the integration and application of major scientific concepts
• are essential for success in the current grade or course
• are important for preparedness for the next grade or course
• support college and career readiness
• necessitate in-depth instruction
• address significant content and concepts
|• focus on content that supports fundamental scientific principles
• introduced in the current grade or course but may be emphasized in a subsequent year
• reinforced in the current grade or course but may be emphasized in a previous year
• play a role in preparing students for the next grade or course but not a central role
• address more narrowly defined content and concepts
Is there a particular value for special education teachers?
Yes! Not only can these resources guide planning for teaching and student support in any classroom setting, but they can also inform ARD committee members writing science goals. When analyzing the needs of the individual student in science, consider content standards AND process standards and remember the balance of readiness and supporting standards.
What should I do with this information now?
In addition to helping you plan for the 18-19 school year, these documents can help determine your summer professional development. Is there a specific reporting category you want to focus on? Do you need more training regarding the scientific investigation and reasoning skills standards?
For more information about Region 13 science resources and workshops, contact Amanda Betz, 512-919-5373, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions about the blueprints and assessed curriculum documents, contact the TEA Science Team, Curriculum Standards and Student Support Division, (512) 463-9581.