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East Texas educators prepare students for annual STAAR tests

East Texas educators prepare students for annual STAAR tests
Longview News-Journal

POSTED: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 11:00am

UPDATED: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 11:14am

Children were back in class Monday and local educators looked toward a new semester that will see a push toward annual state-mandated exams.

But education officials said the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), now in its third year, is not something that students can prepare for in the second semester alone.

“STAAR is about knowing the curriculum all year long and making sure that learning is deep seeded and connected with other learning to be able to perform acceptable or exceedingly on that test,” Pine Tree ISD Superintendent T.J. Farler said. “The biggest change is we don’t come back in January and decide to get ready for STAAR. It starts when we walk in the door in August.”

Farler said she considers much of STAAR to be about “professional learning conversations.”

“It’s about data and our teachers looking back to say, ‘Over the last two weeks, how did I teach this piece of information?’ ” she said. “ Did I get the gains I wanted for them?”

In Longview ISD, Forest Park Middle School math teacher Kim Conley said the school gave students a practice assessment before the fall semester ended.

“We analyzed that over the break,” she said. “Each teacher had their data to take home, look over and set up a game plan for small groups based on need. At this point, we get real intense on grouping based on need. It’s constant analysis.”

Read more from the Longview News-Journal.

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