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April 23, 2013

STAAR tests in progress

Good night’s sleep, breakfast urged each morning of the exams

Athens — The STAAR tests are in progress in Athens Independent School District.

AISD Assistant Superintendent Janie Sims said the first run of tests prior to May will end Friday.  She added that every night, children will be given the chance to recuperate from the testing.

“We always encourage parents to make sure their children get a good night’s sleep the night before.  They should maybe do something enjoyable the night before so they are not stressed,” she said.

Sims said children are encouraged to get up early, and have a good breakfast.

“The district provides breakfast at each school during this time free of charge,” Sims said.

South Athens Elementary School Principal Eugene Buford said the test is for the third grade only in his school.  The STAAR is for all students in AISD, except those in first and second grades. He explained the importance of the tests.

“The tests indicate whether or not the students are on-track in their education career,” he said. “It’s not based on one test.  We need to know where kids are, and this makes it possible.  We have to have assessments periodically to tell us where our kids are.”

Buford said there is not really a single way to prepare for the tests.

“You are preparing all the time,” he said. “This one is timed.  They have four hours to take it in.”

For South Athens, math was administered on April 23 and Reading on April 24.

Pre-K, first and second grades will have normal class time, Buford said.

“It will just be another day for them,” Buford said. “For the others, we ask parents to try not to come and have lunch with their kids.  The kids should have no distractions.”

Buford said that those kids that do not pass get another chance.

“We try to remediate that,” he said. “Some kids just had a bad day.  There are lots of things that affect kids. And teachers pretty much know how their kids are going to score, because they are with them everyday.  They know where they are academically.”

The STAAR website indicates that the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) replaced the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) in Spring, 2012. The STAAR program at grades 3–8 assesses the same subjects and grades that were assessed on TAKS. At high school, however, grade-specific assessments were replaced with 12 end-of-course (EOC) assessments: Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, English II, English III, world geography, world history and U.S. history.

The schedule at AISD for the tests is as follows:

• Through April 26 – TAKS Exit Level, grade 11 only,  and STAAR, grades 3-8. Students on all AISD campuses will test during the week;

• May 6–17, STAAR End-of-Course, grades 9 and 10;

• May 14–17, STAAR Retest, grades 5, 8, 9 and 10.

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