How is the STAAR Scored?

What is the STAAR?

The STAAR is the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. The STAAR replaced the TAKS in 2012. This exam tests students at multiple stages of their education in mathematics and reading (grades 3-8), writing (grades 4 and 7), science (grades 5 and 8), and social studies (grade 8). There is also an 'end of course' test (similar to the Regents Exams in New York) at the conclusion of Algebra I, Biology, English I and II, and U.S. History. These assessments compare student growth across the state with the desired and expected learning outcomes. They are now required for graduation. Here are some essentials for the new STAAR tests that you may want to take look at.

How is the STAAR scored?

All scores fall within three categories: advanced, satisfactory, and unsatisfactory academic performance. Individuals must earn a satisfactory or advanced mark on end of course (EOC) exams in order to graduate from high school with a diploma. Students with special education or English language needs may receive modified assessments. Each test’s rubric is available via the state website

Raw Score versus Scaled Score

Each STAAR report includes a raw and scaled score. The raw result consists of the number of questions that a student answers correctly, with one point awarded for each problem. The scaled score takes into account the difficulty of the test version. Note that the scaled score fluctuates with the levels of academic performance each year. 2012-2014 is within the first testing phase, and thus, the scale has slightly lower thresholds for satisfactory academic performance. Advanced academic performance remains consistent. The score report also includes an analysis of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses within the test.

Preparing for the STAAR

Many strong students struggle with standardized testing, but they cannot graduate with unsatisfactory STAAR scores on their EOC exams. Though the state releases some test content, preparing for a strictly timed and high stakes exam involves more effort. Timed writing or reading drills will assist individuals in gaining control of testing situations and developing confidence. Reading and understanding the rubrics for each test is also an important technique. You may want to consider a STAAR tutor to help you prepare. As a whole, this assessment system is still new to the state of Texas and it has been heavily scrutinized, as all new exams typically are. However, as the tests are increasingly regulated, additional materials should become available to schools, students, and teachers.