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100% online | STAAR test changes go into effect for 1st exam of 2023

TEA Deputy Commissioner of School Programs Lily Laux said students shouldn't stress over the STAAR test, even with new changes in place.

HOUSTON — The first STAAR test of the year will be on Tuesday, and this year, the exams will look a little different: They'll be entirely online.

The Texas Education Agency has some tips for parents to know. They're stressing that it's not a high-stakes test for students and they're confident with the online format.

"We’re looking forward to seeing how it goes," TEA Deputy Commissioner of School Programs Lily Laux said.

The test is the TEA's way of testing the state's education.

"So the test is an important data point for us to know ... how we’re doing as a state and provides great individual information for students. But it’s never meant to be the picture of everything about a student and it’s not something they should stress as they get ready for the assessment this spring," Laux said.

In 2019, the Texas Legislature made changes to the STAAR test. Part of those changes was moving it 100% online.

"One of the other benchmarks that make us feel very confident going into this spring is that last year when it was optional to be fully online, we had nearly 80% of students still choose to test completely online," Laux said.

There are backup plans in place in case technical issues arise during testing.

"We have backup plans on backup plans. I should know," Laux said. "If we have some kind of technical issue or something, it’s a large state, lots happens during testing so our team is always available and we answer calls from districts on any kind of issue and we help them problem solve."

The actual test will be different, too. Multiple-choice questions will be no more than 75% of the test and all grade levels will see writing questions.

"Something that we’re hoping looks a lot more like classroom instruction ... includes non-multiple choice items, has writing at every grade and is fully online," Laux said.

Parents can help their children prepare for the test.

"The main one (tip) is just remind (them), there's no pressure on this for their student. This is not something that's high-stakes and this is something where they should really just take a deep breath and do their best," Laux said.

Once the tests are done, parents can go online to see how their kids did.

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