STAARtling Teacher Hacks in Preparation for STAAR Online

Here are four cool things teachers and administrators have been doing to help students feel better prepared for STAAR Online:

  1. Print a poster-size picture from the Educator Guide to Accessibility within the STAAR Program (like the image below) to make explicit connections to what the tool will look like and where to find it on the screen even when using paper-based instruction.  It might sound like this:”Guys, as you read raise your hand to ask me about words or phrases that are you don’t understand. During STAAR online anytime you see a blue underlined word/phrase or an arrow button, be sure to click on it to see the helpful clues.”

“Students, right now we’re using our red pens to cross out options we know are not correct. During STAAR Online, you will find the eliminator tool at the top (teacher points to the X icon),”

or “Class, I want you to take your highlighters out and mark the key words. During STAAR Online, you will do the same thing by selecting the word with your mouse to make the highlight option show up.”

or “Guys, as you read raise your hand to ask me about words or phrases that you don’t understand. During STAAR online anytime you see a blue underlined word/phrase or an arrow button, be sure to click on it to see the helpful clues.”

2. Place a page protector or clear contact paper over students’ monitors, turning the screen and cover into scratch paper. Students use the same math strategies as they do on paper but can generalize this skill into an online environment. Love it!

3. Eanes ISD and Desmos collaborated to develop a “test mode” for the popular iOS and Chrome app providing a secure, allowable graphing calculator to use on STAAR paper or online.

4. Campuses and districts have decided to replace one of their district benchmark tests with the STAAR Interim Assessment. Students get to practice using the same supports they’ll see on STAAR and districts get to plan from the data they receive.

If you know of a different STAAR prep “hack,” please share! Contact Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net

Preparing Your Students for STAAR Online During Classroom Instruction: Easy Peasy!


You’ve determined that STAAR Online will best match the accommodations your student receives in class that have been successful. You’ve provided your student time to take the STAAR tutorials and practice tests, and even helped personalize settings as part of using the STAAR Online Features & Supports Checklist.

Now you’re wondering how the in-class supports you’re providing, traditionally without technology, will transfer into an online environment. How can we accomplish and duplicate these by using technology in class to improve the odds that students will use the online supports come test day?

First, we can put ourselves in a mindset of normalizing the use of digital accommodations. After all, how many of us use spellcheck or ebooks and audiobooks?

Regarding practice opportunities for Content and Language Supports provided primarily through rollovers and pop-ups, really it’s as easy as the ideas demonstrated in this table.
Content & Language Supports… …with Technology
provide clarifying information for a graphic organizer, political cartoon, or map

provide a visual representation in the selection, question, answer choices, or in the writing prompt by adding graphics, photographs, or animations

isolate specific text or information in a selection that is referenced in the question or answer choices

reword complex question or answer choices to condense text

define or clarify construct-irrelevant words, phrases, and sentences using plain language, synonyms, definitions, examples, and consistent language

reorganize and simplify historical excerpts, respecting the TEKS based academic vocabulary

get materials into a digital format and insert a hyperlink to a map, graphic organizer, or cartoon

get materials into a digital format and insert a hyperlink to a picture, video, etc.

 

bookmarking the selection and hyperlinking to that selection in the answer choice

use a website called Rewordify -this tool simplifies difficult English words

explicitly teach students to use the built-in “synonym” tool within MSWord,  a thesaurus add-on in Google Docs, or a thesaurus Chrome extension by selecting the word, right clicking and choosing “find synonym.”

use websites such as Newsela or CommonLit which automatically levels text, and has text-to-speech and other STAAR-like features.

Regarding practice for oral administration via text-to-speech (TTS), really it’s about providing lots of opportunities for students to experience text-to-speech and any form of TTS practice is useful!

 

Think about tools you already have. Many of these have text-to-speech:

  • online textbooks
  • TextQuest’s database
  • subscription-based ebooks such as Learning A-Z’s ebooks
  • Bookshare or Learning Ally’s books
  • the built-in “speak selected text” in iPad, Chromebook, and MSWord
  • or perhaps your district has a text-to-speech plugin for web browsers

Text-to-speech options are available everywhere, wherever there is text to read, it’s just a google search away! Or an email question away… don’t forget to ask your campus edTech/AT/librarian in case there is a district license to a commercial product that you didn’t know about (e.g. Snap&Read Universal, Read&Write for Google, Kurzweil, etc.).

Of course, using worksheets and other paper materials is problematic for TTS. Here are some steps to consider: are your instructional materials available in a digital format (.rtf, .doc, .pdf)? If not – scan, copy and paste, or type it manually. Not enough devices? Figure out grouping, stations, splitters for headsets, etc.

Using these tools routinely will help build stamina, familiarity, and good habits with online content and supports. In the same way,  the more you can embed digital formative or summative assessment using online tools such as Google Forms and even Kahoot, the more prepared your students will be. 
For questions, contact Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net.

Are Your Students Taking STAAR Online?

If so, it’s important that they familiarize themselves with the online testing environment and embedded tools. One great way to do this is to use the STAAR Online Features & Supports Checklist while completing the STAAR online tutorials and practice tests.

STAAR Online Features & Supports Checklist

It’s important to explicitly teach students how to use the features and supports available as part of the STAAR online assessment. This checklist breaks down the general navigation tools, accessibility features, and designated supports so you can target your students’ practice time and track their progress toward proficiency. The checklist can also be used to keep track of student preferences, such as the speed of the text-to-speech and color background. In addition to helping students, the checklist is a great tool for parents to learn about the STAAR online assessment. Parents can download the STAAR Online Testing Platform to their home computer and practice with their child.

STAAR Online Tutorials

The tutorials are the first step for students to learn about the online testing environment. The tutorials show students how to navigate through the test, respond to the different question types, and access the available tools. In addition, short videos illustrate how to use the various features and tools. Tutorials are available for various grades/subjects and courses.

STAAR Online Practice Tests

The practice tests are the second step for students to learn about the online testing environment. The practice tests are released STAAR test forms that have been previously administered. These tests provide students with an opportunity to interact with the test interface, respond to questions, and locate and use available tools. Practice tests are available for various grades/subjects and courses.

Resources

The STAAR Online Testing Platform operates through a secure browser that must be installed on a desktop or tablet in order to access the tutorials and practice tests. Links to the secure browsers are available at https://www.texasassessment.com/technology/.

The Educator Guide to Accessibility within the STAAR Program provides information about the features and supports that make the STAAR accessible to all students. The guide also includes specific examples of the online features and supports offered on STAAR online.

For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg, gretchen.kehrberg@esc13.txed.net.

 

Register today for To Drill or Not to Drill? Math Fact Strategy Instruction!

Do your students struggle to learn math facts?

We know that by 6th grade (TEK 6.3D) students are expected to add, subtract, multiply, and divide integers fluently. In this workshop you will learn effective and efficient strategies for students to use in order to build automaticity of the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. Teaching of strategies to recall basic facts builds flexible thinking in a student. Students with flexible thinking are able to see a number in several forms and use the knowledge and skills they already possess to find a solution for an unknown fact. In addition to building flexible thinking, teaching of strategies to recall basic facts improves math calculation skills which are necessary for success on STAAR.

All attendees will receive a set of the FACTastic Math Strategy System, a comprehensive program for teaching basic math facts through strategy-based instruction. Full-day attendees will receive the FACTastic Math Strategy System for addition/subtraction and multiplication/division. Half-day morning attendees will receive the FACTastic Math Strategy System for addition/subtraction. Half-day afternoon attendees will receive the FACTastic Math Strategy System for multiplication/division. Check out this video to learn more about the FACTastic Math Strategy System.

Register Today!

Date: February 26, 2019

  • Full Day: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Half Day (Add/Sub): 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Half Day (Mult/Div): 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Price:

  • Full Day: $75.00
  • Half Day: $45.00

Go to Ecampus and search for the following course numbers.

  • Full Day: SP1940756
  • Half Day (Add/Sub): SP1940810
  • Half Day (Mult/Div): SP1940811

For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg, gretchen.kehrberg@esc13.txed.net.

 

Are you looking for Supplemental Aids?

Are you looking for examples of supplemental aids to use in your classroom? You’re in luck! The Accommodation Central website now has downloadable supplemental aids in both a Teach and Test version for all of the TEA allowable supplemental aids. Examples include mnemonics, graphic organizers, math charts, and more!

Follow these steps to access the resources.

  1. Go to the Accommodation Central website.
  2. Type supplemental aids in the search box.
  3. Click on the entry for the type of supplemental aid you’re interested in.
  4. Scroll down until you see downloadable resources.
  5. Click on the link to download the supplemental aid example.

For more information about supplemental aids check out this video. In the video you will learn details about supplemental aids including:

  • The purpose of supplemental aids
  • Who can use supplemental aids on state assessments
  • Who determines eligibility to use supplemental aids
  • How to implement and individualize supplemental aids
  • Where to find more resources about supplemental aids

For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg, gretchen.kehrberg@esc13.txed.net.

 

STAAR Stuff: Supplemental Aids for Science

What are supplemental aids?

Supplemental aids are paper-based resources that assist a student in recalling information and concepts taught in class.

Who can use supplemental aids?

To be eligible to use supplemental aids on a state assessment, the student needs to routinely, independently, and effectively use it during classroom instruction and classroom testing.

Check out this video highlighting the four types of supplemental aids eligible students can use on the science STAAR tests.

Where can I get more information about supplemental aids?

The TEA Supplemental Aids Policy Document has more information on supplemental aids, including determining eligibility and types for each subject area. Check out the Accommodation Central website to view a variety of supplemental aid downloadable examples.

AND . . .

If you’re looking for ways to meet the diverse needs of students in your science classroom then register today for the Science for All workshop!

In the workshop you will explore evidence-based instructional strategies designed to help all students, especially struggling learners, make progress toward success. You will also learn about accommodations and modifications, how to implement supplemental aids, and tips for helping students transfer their knowledge from instructional practices to the STAAR test. This day-long workshop is designed for all science teachers, but is particularly applicable to teachers of STAAR tested grades (grade 5, grade 8, and biology). You will participate in hands-on activities, small-group discussion, and will leave with ideas and strategies you can start using with your students right away!

Date: January 28, 2019

Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Cost: $45.00

Register for Science for All in Ecampus by using course number SP1940797.

For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg, gretchen.kehrberg@esc13.txed.net.

STAARtlingly Helpful January PD!

It’s almost here…!! Wishing you a warm, wonderful, and peaceful holiday season!

Understanding that when the break is over, educators and students will be that much closer to high stakes testing days, we want to highlight an upcoming workshop designed to bring clarity around the most current STAAR accessibility resources.

When focused on teaching, preparing for and deciding between paper and online STAAR accessibility options can feel overwhelming.

In this interactive workshop you will become familiar with the updated STAAR accessibility policies. You will learn about expanded student eligibility criteria, expanded allowability of technology tools, and how to meet the technology guidelines. Most important, you will learn how to integrate technology into your content area/s that simulates the online accessibility resources, enhances your teaching, and addresses students’ need to routinely and effectively use their supports during instruction.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the STAAR Accessibility updates
  • Explore STAAR Online Practice Tests and the embedded supports
  • Discover tech tools that simulate STAAR embedded supports and choose the tech tools that are applicable to your content area and your students
  • Practice using instructional/assistive technology tools
  • Discuss classroom implementation strategies to ensure students have opportunities to use supports routinely, effectively and independently
  • Understand the parameters of the 2018-19 Technology Guidelines and test security processes
  • Familiarize yourself with the resources of Accommodation Central

Note: There will be a focus on the following Designated Supports as well as the Calculator and Dictionary Policies:

  • Basic Transcribing
  • Oral Administration
  • Spelling Assistance
  • Content and Language Supports
  • Calculation Aids

Whether you’re a special or general educator, administrator, or related service provider we hope to see you at one of these dates:

  • Jan 22, 2019 registration details here
  • Jan 23, 2019 registration details here
  • Jan 29, 2019 registration details here

Please contact Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5246 for any questions.

 

Register today for Science for All!

Are you looking for ways to meet the diverse needs of students in your science classroom?

 

The Science for All workshop will explore evidence-based instructional strategies designed to help all students, especially struggling learners, make progress toward success. You will also learn about accommodations and modifications, how to implement supplemental aids, and tips for helping students transfer their knowledge from instructional practices to the STAAR test. This day-long workshop is designed for all science teachers, but is particularly applicable to teachers of STAAR tested grades (grade 5, grade 8, and biology). You will participate in hands-on activities, small-group discussion, and will leave with ideas and strategies you can start using with your students right away!

Date: January 28, 2019

Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Cost: $45.00

Register for Science for All in Ecampus by using course number SP1940797.

For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg, gretchen.kehrberg@esc13.txed.net.

2018 STAAR Online Testing Issues

 

The Commissioner has addressed the online testing issues experienced in April and again in May.

In April, the event impacted students taking the grades 5 and 8 mathematics, 4 and 7 writing and English I tests.  In May, the event primarily impacted students taking the grades 3-8 reading test.

During the April 2018 administration of STAAR, 41,702 students were testing online.  Of the 278,434 tested students served in special education, 14,673 were testing online and were impacted.

During the May 2018 administration of STAAR, approximately 29,307 students encountered a connectivity slowdown of approximately 90 minutes. Of the 278,434 tested students served in special education, 4,594 were testing online and were impacted.

Waiving SSI Requirements for Students Impacted by the Online Testing Issues

Students in grades 5 and 8 who were directly affected by either of the online testing issues above and who did not perform satisfactorily on the May 2018 assessment, will not be required to retest during the June 2018 SSI administration.

Districts should determine, on an individual student basis, whether accelerated instruction should be offered for students who did not pass the assessment in May. For the 2017–2018 school year, districts are not required to convene grade placement committees based on results from the affected subject test. Instead, districts should use local discretion and all relevant and available academic information (e.g., the recommendation of the teacher and the student’s grade in each subject) to make appropriate promotion/retention decisions for these students.

The complete press release can be found here: To The Administrator Addressed .

For additional information contact your campus or district testing coordinator.

 

 

 

What we know about the new online STAAR…

TEA has shared information on the new online version of STAAR that will be available beginning in March 2017.  STAAR A and STAAR L will no longer be used as the online version will take their place.  What we know is limited to the communication from State Assessment:

  • The new version will have embedded accommodations, accessibility feature, and non-embedded accommodations (not in the platform)
  • There will be embedded accommodations for text to speech, language and vocabulary supports, and content supports
  • Accessibility features will be included (TBD)
  • Accommodations students use during STAAR administration will be selected on the basis of documentation in the IEP of current instructional accommodations, routinely and effectively used in the classroom; students will receive only the specific accommodations he or she uses
  • If students’ ARDs or Section 504 committees had selected STAAR A assessments for Spring 2017, IEP/504 plan will need to be updated to reflect each assessment the student will take and the specific embedded accommodations and non-embedded accommodations (i.e., supports that are not part of the technology platform) that the student requires during testing.  It will be a case by case decision as to update through an ARD or through an IEP amendment.
  • The accessibility features that are available to all students in the online version of STAAR do not need to be listed in a student’s IEP or Section 504 plan, unless the student’s ARD or Section 504 committee wants to ensure that the student uses a certain feature.

We have a list of questions as we are sure you do about the new online STAAR.  A TETN is scheduled Friday, September 23rd, 9:00-12:00 at which TEA will share additional information and address questions.  Please feel free to join us at Region 13 in Treaty Oak to learn and problem solve with us.

STAAR Online Administrations Beginning in March 2017

Contacts: Kim West kim.west@esc13.txed.net, Ann Jacobson ann.jacobson@esc13.txed.net, or Ann Jinkins ann.jinkins@esc13.txed.net