Important 2023 STAAR Updates for Grades 3-5
By Kirsten Hammond
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It’s that time of year again. 3rd through 5th grade STAAR ELA Tests are coming up in April.
Here are some updates that you should know about!
Updates to Reading and Writing Tests
Prior to the 2022-2023 school year, 3rd and 5th grades had just reading tests, and 4th grade had both reading and writing on 2 separate tests.
Now it’s combined. 3rd, 4th, AND 5th grade STAAR ELAR Tests will have both reading and writing beginning in the 2022-2023 school year.
The biggest difference between each of the grade levels is the reading load. They all have base tests AND field tests.
What Will Students Be Tested on for the STAAR?
There are two parts to the STAAR that students will take – base tests and field tests. The base tests do contribute to student scores and the field tests do not contribute to student scores.
Base Tests are used to measure student knowledge, and so they DO contribute to students’ scores.
Reading will have 2 single reading passages and 1 paired passage. The reading load for the base tests for each grade are as follows:
- 3rd grade – 2,740 words maximum
- 4th grade – 3,040 words maximum
- 5th grade – 3,190 words maximum
Writing will have 2 revising passages, 2 editing passages, and 1 constructed response, which is essentially a composition.
Both reading and writing passage genres can be fiction, poetry, or drama. It can also be literary non-fiction, informational, correspondence, argumentative, or persuasive. You can help students prepare for informational passages with this resource, which I use with my students as well.
As for the questions and point systems for the base tests, they are broken down in 3 sections.
- 38 multiple choice/non-multiple choice questions – 1 point each
- 2 non-multiple choice questions – 2 points each
- 1 constructed response question – worth 10 points
Passages may be from any of the following genres:
- literary non-fiction
The schematics are broken down in more detail by grade here!
Field Tests are questions that are still in the development stage. They DO NOT contribute to a student’s score. For folks who are new to Texas and STAAR tests, here is some more information about why the state does field testing!
This section will include ONLY ONE of the following, paired with 6 multiple choice and non-multiple choice questions:
- single reading passage
- paired reading passage
- single revising passage
- two short editing passages
You can read more about the structure of field tests here, listed by grade.
Prepping for the STAAR Tests
As mentioned before, if you’d like some resources to help your students prepare for these assessments, here is a Nonfiction Test Prep Resource that I liked using with my students. It includes 10 informational text passages with 3 activities for each, and focuses on a wide variety of skills.
What else would you like to know about STAAR tests and how to prepare for them?
Wishing your students the best of luck!
Kirsten is a former 3rd and 5th grade teacher who loves helping upper elementary teachers by creating resources and sharing ideas that are engaging, research-based, and TEKS-aligned. She is a work-from-home mama of 3 rambunctious little ones and loves running, true crime, and lots of coffee.