january 26 2012 christopher hines ed d
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What is STAAR? Getting Ready for College, And some other stuff

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January 26, 2012 Christopher Hines, Ed.D. What is STAAR? Getting Ready for College, And some other stuff. Some things haven’t changed…. If your child wants to go to college, there is a college for him/her. Don’t spend all your time worrying about tomorrow so that you lose today.

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some things haven t changed
Some things haven’t changed…
  • If your child wants to go to college, there is a college for him/her.
  • Don’t spend all your time worrying about tomorrow so that you lose today.
  • Decision-making, self-advocacy, and self-confidence are skills to build now.
  • Gather information.
  • Help build study skills and

develop time and stress


what about the sat
What about the SAT?
  • The SAT is a criterion referenced test and is NOT based on school curriculum, but on higher level thinking skills.
  • The test has a maximum score of 2400 that includes a Student writing sample.
the act
  • Is a curriculum-based test in English, Reading, Mathematics, and Science.
  • Math includes Algebra I, Geometry and Trig.
  • An optional writing section has been added (check with your college).
  • Some colleges use individual test scores for placement.
tests compared
Tests Compared



  • Reading heavy
  • Will need Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II
  • Math = 33% of score
  • Not based on school curriculum
  • No science
  • Essay
  • Grammar/Reading heavy
  • Need Algebra I, Geometry and Trig
  • Math = 25% of score
  • Based on school curriculum
  • Science reasoning section
  • Writing optional
so which one should my child take
So, which one should my child take?
  • We recommend they take both.
  • Look at the comparison chart – where do your child’s strengths lie?
  • If you child is not particularly strong in math or in verbal skills, the ACT might be better.
  • By taking both, you can have a better idea of which one might be best to retake if the scores are not what your child wants or needs.
  • The district is currently paying for all sophomores and juniors to take the PSAT. For sophomores, the test is administered for practice and feedback purposes. Advanced Placement success can also be predicted from these scores.
  • The junior year, PSAT scores are used for National Merit Scholarship Competition.
  • These are only given one time a year. (October)
  • Required by all STATE public institutions (includes community colleges)
  • Is not an admissions test, but a placement test.
  • Currently, students may be exempted with certain SAT, ACT or Algebra II and English III EOCs (Advanced Academic Level 3).
  • There are several tests that are used by different institutions.
what else should i know
What Else Should I Know?
  • Texas guarantees admission in state universities for the top 10% of each graduating class (Recommended Plan required or 1500 on the SAT or 24 on the ACT) with the exception of UT Austin.
  • Different courses receive different grade points in high school.
  • Prestigious colleges expect rigorous high school curriculum.
  • High school is not only about getting into college, it’s about having the skills to STAY in college!
cisd gpa

Course Type A B C D F

AP/DC* 6 5 4 3 0 PreAP/H 5 4 3 2 0

Level & all

other courses 4 3 2 1 0

*Core Dual Credit core courses taught on the high school campus only

  • A student should take those courses that are most appropriate for his/her level of ability.
  • Have realistic expectations – in both directions. Set the bar high, but not out of sight.
  • Look at the total picture – hours for study, activities, family – and even sleep.
  • How does your student handle stress?
  • GPA’s begin the summer after successfully completing 8th grade , the start of 9th grade.
What counts in college admission?

Overwhelming Majority of College Admissions Officers Say..

•94% Grades in College Prep Courses

• 92% Grades in all Courses

• 90 % Strength of Curriculum

• 89% Standardized Admission Tests

• 67% Class Rank

• 64 % Essay/Writing Sample

•61% Recommendations

•52% Extracurricular Activities

•52% Student’s Demonstrated Interest

what is the advanced placement program
What is the Advanced Placement Program?
  • College level courses taught in high school
  • 35 courses in 19 subject areas (TWHS offers 26)
  • Examinations scores can lead to college credit .
  • An opportunity for students to think, read and write critically and analytically.
  • Additional grade points in the high school GPA
what are the advantages of taking ap courses
What are the advantages of taking AP Courses?
  • More than 90% of U.S. colleges and universities give credit and/or advanced placement to AP students.
  • A 1998 ETS study concluded that students with qualifying grades of 3 or higher earn higher grades in advanced college courses than classmates who have taken the college prerequisite course.
  • Earning college credit in high school

saves parents money!

graduation requirements see handout
Graduation Requirements(see handout)
  • Four years of math and science.
  • 26 total credits are required for graduation under the Recommended or Distinguished Achievement Plans.
  • There are scheduling implications.
  • Students attending a 4-year Texas University must graduate under the Recommended or Distinguished Achievement Plan.
what resources are available
What Resources are Available?
  • www.collegeboard.com
  • http://www.act.org/
  • www.wiredscholar.com
  • www.collegefortexans.com
  • www.fastweb.com
  • TWHS web site
  • ACT Discover program (check with your counselor)
  • Individual college/university/technical school/ military websites
  • College visits
  • http://www.usnews.com/usnews/newslett.htm

(sign up for the First Stop College e-newsletters)

state of texas assessments of academic readiness staar
State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR)
  • Assessments at Grades 3-8 (paper only) include:
    • Math and reading at grades 3-8, in addition, students must take an EOC for any high school credit course.
    • Writing at grades 4 and 7,
    • Science at grades 5 and 8,
    • Social studies at grade 8,
    • Spanish versions of all tests in grades 3-5.
high school staar paper or online
High School STAAR (paper or online)
  • The high school assessments will be 12 end-of-course exams.
    • Math will include algebra 1, geometry, and algebra 2.
    • Science will include biology, chemistry, and physics.
    • English will include English I,II, and III.
    • Social Studies will include World Geography, World History, and U.S. History.
  • Each EOC must count as 15% of final course grade (during the year the course is taken).
more high school info
More High School Info.
  • Students must have cumulative passing average in all subject areas. For example, in science a biology score of 75 + chemistry 70 + physics 65 gives me a cumulative passing average.
  • Students must achieve a minimum score or keep retaking the tests.
  • Students must specifically pass Algebra 2 and English 3 in addition to having a passing average in math and language arts as part of the Recommended graduation plan.
high school continued
High School continued
  • Students may take EOCs as many times as needed to pass.
  • The English EOCs will have two portions (reading and writing) and will be given over 2 days. The writing portion will have 2 essays. The reading portion will focus more on critical analysis. Students can retake one portion if necessary.
  • Students currently taking Algebra 1 will take EOC this spring.
  • The STAAR will be harder than TAKS.
  • There will be a satisfactory cut score and an advanced cut score, likely to be used to determine college readiness.
  • There will also be Modified versions of the EOCs for special needs students.
  • There will be Alternative assessments similar to the current TAKS Alternative.
  • High School required testing days go from 25 to 45 (including summer).
  • Tests will contain a greater number of items that have a higher complexity level.
  • Process skills will be assessed in context in social studies, science and math.
  • In science and math, the number of open-ended (griddable) items will increase.
  • More emphasis on Readiness standards, which are essential for
    • success in the current grade or course,
    • are important for preparedness for the next grade or course,
    • support college readiness,
    • and address broad and deep ideas.