For the first time, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test practice questions are available online, so teachers, parents and students will have the opportunity to prepare before the exam.
KCBD decided to print off copies of the test and see how members of our staff coped with the 5th grade science test. The results were mixed.
Our six staff members missed an average of 4 out of 12 questions. The employee with the best score only missed one, but she expected the worst.
"I thought it was a little hard, but I did good," she said. "I didn't think I did good."
This employee has two children, one who is headed into 6th grade. Taking this test gave her a newfound respect for what her kids have to learn, but she knows with a little refresher course, her score might have been perfect.
"If they're taking this test they've probably been studying these things and I haven't studied these things in many years," she said.
Another KCBD staffer said the test wasn't as bad as he expected.
"It wasn't bad. It wasn't as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be," he said.
He took the most deliberate approach to testing, going through process of elimination to make sure he was 100 percent certain of his answer.
"I was just trying to narrow things down, not really common sense. The way they worded the questions to make it seem like they weren't trying to trick you. They were trying to make you think a little bit more. It was a bit more engaging than a picture - a lot of critical thinking."
After our company test, we took some questions out to the public. They fared a little better:
"The arrows in the diagrams below represent light. Which diagram best shows how a glass lens refracts light?"
Our test subjects glanced over each of the diagrams, all seven of them picking A, the correct answer.
The final test subject was 11-year-old Taylor Anderson, who is going into the sixth grade. She took the test, occasionally shouting out, "I remember this question," and "I got this one wrong last time."
In the end, she missed two, the second best score of the day. She was very excited since it was the end of summer and she hadn't studied, but the test did provide some challenges.
"Some parts of the questions were really hard, so I guessed at some of them and then the other difficult ones I already know," she said.
In June the Texas Education Agency released the results for Lubbock grade 5, which is the level test we gave.
LISD 5th graders scored 82 on reading, 83 on math and 73 on science, around the same score as our testers.
Frenship ISD 5th grade scored 95 reading, 96 math and 85 science, while Lubbock Cooper ISD: 95 reading, 94 math and 80 science.
If you'd like to try your own hand at the STAAR test, TEA has made the questions available here: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/staar/testquestions/
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