As Texas teachers are well aware, the Reading Language Arts (RLA) STAAR test has new items for writing on this year’s 2022-2023 test including editing, revising, and constructed response. I highly recommend logging in to the practice test (if you’ve not already) and working through some of these. You can log in as a guest and access many different practice tests at every grade level just by clicking “Sign In.” Also, you may have seen some of the new STARR resources I’m sharing already, but I’m going to share them here for context. And here is the Accompanying Guide to New Question Type Samples for RLA. All that said, let’s get going!
Student Typing: Stop the Pecking
Ok, so maybe we can’t actually teach typing. But if students can start off the year in a typing program that increases their speed, accuracy, and efficiency (in hopes of forever bidding adieu to the one-finger keyboard pecking) it will inevitably help them on the online STAAR. Learning to type will be beneficial when it comes to completing the new written response answers. Also, students can’t copy and paste text to revise it. They will have to retype it. Here are Seven Keyboarding Tutorials from Miguel Guhlin with some suggestions for typing programs, and here are 25+ Typing Apps from We Are Teachers for you to check out.
The Highlighter: Your Students’ Best Friend
I will tell you, and this is my personal opinion, that the tools on the online STAAR test are not great for elementary students. They are clunky and don’t make it easy for them to annotate text or take notes. And there is no pencil/annotation tool outside of sticky notes to type on. So, there’s that. The easiest tool for them will likely be the highlighter. You can practice using other digital tools with highlighters, like Edji, outside the test to help students prepare to use it on the test itself. I’d also recommend using the practice test with students to familiarize them with tools.
To use the highlighter on the test, students will need to first select all the text they want to be highlighted with their mouse, right-click on top of the text, and choose a highlighter color. Once they click the color, the text will highlight. To reset the text, they can right-click on the highlighted text and choose “Reset Highlighting.”
The Highlighter for Editing and Revision Questions
When STAAR test questions refer to specific sentences that have errors, when students are asked to rewrite a specific sentence or sentences, and when they are asked to change a word in a sentence, the highlighter can help them see the sentence as a whole. As you can see, the questions break up sentences with a drop-down menu and don’t restate the sentence(s) for students.
STAAR Written Response Resources
Short Constructed Response – Reading
In grades 3-8, students will be asked to write short responses to reading (worth two points) to demonstrate understanding of the content. I’d recommend taking a look at the rubrics and the scoring guides with exemplar texts to see exactly what they are looking for in these responses.
For these questions, I really like the RACES and RAPP strategies which can be applied to shorter or longer writing assignments. They will work well for any grade level and can be adapted! Use color coding when you’re practicing with students to help them recognize and check the different parts of their responses. For example, have students highlight the section restating the question in green, the answer in yellow, the text evidence in orange, etc. Here are some templates for you to download and/or edit to your heart’s content!
Short Constructed Response – Writing
Also in grades 3-8, will be short and extended constructed responses for writing. Short responses (worth one point) are meant to assess specific skills in editing and revision. Students may be asked to write a new sentence, rewrite a sentence, or make an inline choice (choose a correct response from a drop-down style menu).
Extended Constructed Response – Writing
STAAR Writing Rubrics
- Grades 3-5 Opinion
- Grades 3-5 Informational
- Grades 6-English II Opinion
- Grades 6-English II Informational
*Updated October 18, 2022.
Extended responses (worth up to ten points; five-point rubric scored by two scorers) are more complex and are meant to assess a student’s ability to analyze, explain, and evaluate the information given to them in a text. For the extended response, you can use and/or adapt the RAPP or RACE checklists above to help students practice. But here is a RACERR checklist that I created which has been adapted for extended writing based on the writing rubric:
Additional STARR Test Redesign Resources
- Online Testing and Accommodations
- New Question Types
- Cross-Curricular Passages
- Evidence-based Writing
I hope you find this information and these resources helpful. What do you want to know about STAAR testing? What would be helpful to you? Let us know in the comments or send me an email!