By Madison Evans
As the new generation of academic assessment draws near we are all working hard to prepare for the upcoming test. This year, students at Wertheimer Middle School will be taking the Reading and Math State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR).
According to the STARR Brochure published by the Texas Education Agency, STAAR is the state’s students testing program. Over the course of their public school career students will be tested on the core subject areas including reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. The STAAR test for elementary and middle school grades replaces the previous testing program, the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).
This is the first year that the test will be timed. Each student has four hours to complete the test. Mrs. Sarah Miles, an ELA teacher at Wertheimer Middle School, believes that this will benefit students because, “the four hours will allow students to go back and check their work.”
After speaking with some classmates, it seems that most feel pretty calm about the upcoming tests. Rafal Bilewski confided that he feels that the STAAR test will be easier for all students if they actively put in place the many strategies that they have been taught. He went on to tell me that he thinks our teachers give us the help we need but it is only useful if we review and practice it. Mrs. Miles agreed and said, “Students who come to school and try their absolute best will do well on the test.”
So, what is the best way to practice those strategies? I asked classmate Johana Newman for suggestions. She told me that she feels a good way for students to prepare is by “studying and memorizing [their] strategies and notes.’’ For instance, teachers at Wertheimer instruct students to use the “S.T.A.A.R. strategy” when approaching the reading passages. This is an acronym that encourages the reader to (S)can the passage, (T)ake a look at the questions, (A)nnotate as you read, (A)uthor’s purpose, and (R)eread the passage and answer the questions.
April 23-24 is approaching quickly and staff and students are working together to ensure success for all students. Mrs. Miles reminds us we all “can achieve great things when we put our minds to it.” Good luck everyone!