Teaching has peaks and valleys, and the end-of-year standardized test review time is a slog. But you don’t have to put yourself or your students through it when you incorporate STAAR test prep activities throughout the year.
You can welcome the arrival of spring once again when you:
- integrate STAAR question types into your class routine throughout the year.
- pinpoint problem areas daily/weekly to remediate when it matters most.
- use auto-grading features so you have more time and data to do what you love.
What will be different about STAAR for Spring 2023?
As we all know too well, Texas students will experience a newly redesigned STAAR 2.0 test next month. There will be key changes that students need to be familiar with before taking the test:
- New question types
- Cross-curricular reading passages
- Evidence-based writing
- Tests administered online
The Texas STAAR will differ from a traditional standardized paper and pencil test. Students will face questions that require them to think differently than multiple choice: multi-select, hot spot, drag and drop, free response questions, and more.
Integrating STAAR Test Prep More Frequently for Shorter Periods
Educators have been running drill camps before the big test for years now. How do you feel about that approach and its effectiveness? If you’re like most of us, you probably don’t feel great about it. Instead, consider incorporating a few of these tips into your normal week so that students familiarize themselves with the test format before the big day.
Tip 1: Incorporate STAAR review into your daily routine.
The biggest takeaway for planning test prep is to do smaller amounts of it for longer periods. You can achieve this by incorporating it into your daily class routine. Here are two practical places to include a STAAR activity each day in class:
- Bell work: You can incorporate review questions in your daily assignments. It’s a great time to focus on 1-2 questions and really dive into how to solve them.
- Formative assessment: If you’re already planning a formative assessment each day, why not format questions just like the STAAR 2.0 test?
Tip 2: Ask questions in the same format as STAAR.
Formatting questions you ask in class to be like the ones in STAAR is easier said than done. The STAAR test is online, and many question formats (multi-select, hot spot, dropdowns, etc.) are not always easy to replicate.
Using a tool like TeacherMade can simplify the process. TeacherMade converts any PDF to an online assignment, and you can add a variety of question types to any assignment. Check out TeacherMade’s toolbar to see some of the question formats you can create for your assignments:
These question formats mirror what your students will see on STAAR.
Tip 3: Use resources that already exist.
If you incorporate STAAR-like materials throughout the year, you’re going to need a lot of content. But there’s no good reason to reinvent the wheel – not anymore!
- TEA has all the practice tests you need on its STAAR website.
- TeacherMade has taken the released STAARs from prior years and turned them into STAAR 2.0 tests with 25-30% technology-enhanced item types on every form. Check out our STAAR resources here.
- You have loads of PDFs in your file cabinet that you can easily repurpose into STAAR 2.0 using TeacherMade.
Tip 4: Save time with auto-grading.
Your students need quick feedback to gain the most meaning from their STAAR review. But more frequent and smaller review activities can lead to a lot of grading. That’s a big burden for classroom teachers who are already overloaded!
Automate your grading using TeacherMade and ease your workload. You can upload any PDF and add an answer key, and you’ll never have to grade another worksheet, formative assessment, or practice test.
Tip 5: Show progress over time and increase student buy-in.
As students receive quick feedback in TeacherMade, they can see their progress while working on STAAR review. This increases student buy-in to the review process and keeps engagement higher for your reviews.
You can also create review activities that students can repeat if they need extra review for the test. Use TeacherMade’s reports to assist with this.
Tip 6: Pinpoint STAAR problem areas to save time and save student engagement.
Another way you can increase student motivation and improve your review outcomes is by focusing on areas that need the most help. Stop reviewing everything. This wastes time and causes students to check out mentally. Instead, focus on areas where your students struggle the most.
When you use TeacherMade data to target your focus, you instantly know the most missed questions on assignments and can easily see if students mastered a concept. Then, you can target what needs to be addressed.
Tip 7: Build test-taking confidence.
Doing smaller reviews over longer periods builds test-taking confidence. Students will feel more engaged with the review material, pay attention to feedback, and become more familiar with the test format.
This results in students who don’t get distracted by the testing format of STAAR and only focus on the content tasks and doing their best.
You can create authentic STAAR test prep with TeacherMade.
TeacherMade transforms your Google Slides and PDFs into interactive activities in minutes.
- Use what you have. Transform your existing Google Slides, Docs, and other PDFs into interactive activities in minutes. Or construct digital activities from scratch. The choice is yours.
- Prevent teacher burnout with auto-grading. Regain your nights and weekends. 20+ question types are auto-graded for you. Scores flow straight into your Google Classroom grade book, Canvas, or Schoology! Even student-constructed responses are graded more easily in TeacherMade.
- Measure what your students know. Students engage more deeply with the curriculum when they get instant feedback via the “Check My Answers” button. Turn learning loss into gains.