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Preparing for TAKS Elementary English Language Arts. New Vision for Statewide Assessment. Completely reconceived testing program Reflection of actual classroom practice Questions clearly worded, asked in authentic ways. Background. 1999–2000

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new vision for statewide assessment
New Vision for Statewide Assessment
  • Completely reconceived testing program
  • Reflection of actual classroom practice
  • Questions clearly worded, asked in authentic ways


  • TEKS selection by educator committees, objectives drafted
  • Eleventh grade surveys distributed


  • Third through tenth grade and second draft eleventh grade surveys distributed
  • Survey results and prototypes examined by educator committees


  • Field test items reviewed by educator committees
  • Information booklets distributed
  • Field test administered
information booklets
Information Booklets
  • Reading Grades 3–6
  • Reading Grades 5–8
  • Writing Grades 4 and 7
  • Reading Grade 9 and English Language Arts Grades 10 and 11 Exit Level
organization of the taks
Organization of the TAKS


  • “Umbrella statements”
  • Headings for grouping Student Expectations
  • Identical for grades 3–8 (elementary/middle school system) and 9–11 (high school system)
  • Reporting unit

TEKS Student Expectations

  • Grouped under appropriate objective
  • May be repeated (writing composition vs. revising/editing)
clarification of terms
Clarification of Terms
  • The term “including” is used when the specific examples that follow it must be taught.
  • The term“such as” is used when the specific examples that follow function only as representative illustrations that help define the expectation for teachers

However, in both cases other examples may be used in addition to those listed.

  • Any skill or concept in [brackets] is not tested.
culturally diverse text
Culturally Diverse Text

The term culturally diverse simply means “pertaining to a variety of backgrounds and perspectives.” We are committed to finding selections that will represent, as much as possible, the wide range of backgrounds of the student population in Texas. At the same time, each selection must be accessible to all students, regardless of ethnicity or background.

grade 3 5 reading selections
Grade 3–5 Reading Selections
  • Title
  • Introduction with background information, when necessary
  • Paragraphs numbered where appropriate
  • Photographs, illustrations
  • Clear, focused questions and statements in items
grade 3 5 reading selections9
Grade 3–5 Reading Selections
  • Narrative (stories, letters, diary entries)
  • Expository (information, explanation)
  • Mixed
  • Paired (except at grade 3)
  • Grades 3–4: 500–700 words
  • Grade 5: 600–900 words
grades 3 5 reading
Grades 3–5 Reading

Objective 1

  • Basic understanding of texts

Objective 2

  • Knowledge of literary elements to understand texts

Objective 3

  • Use of strategies to analyze texts

Objective 4

  • Application of critical thinking skills to analyze texts
objective 1 items
Objective 1 Items
  • Vocabulary in Context
    • Underlined word will be above grade level.
    • Student is expected to know and use different strategies (e.g., word structure, word origin, analogies, or connotation depending on grade level).
    • Context clues will be provided in the selection.
    • Multiple-meaning words will be tested through a dictionary entry.
objective 1 items continued
Objective 1 Items, continued
  • Important, relevant details/events
  • Main idea/gist
  • Summary
objective 2 items
Objective 2 Items
  • Characterization
  • Setting
  • Story problem, plot
  • No literary point of view
  • Narrative mostly, expository or mixed if appropriate
objective 3 items grade 3
Objective 3 Items (Grade 3)
  • Relationship of one event to other events
  • Representation of text in different ways, including graphic organizers, or interpretation of information from a graphic source
  • Different forms of text, characteristics of stories and informational texts, purpose
  • Different genres, distinguishing characteristics
objective 3 items grades 4 5
Objective 3 Items (Grades 4–5)
  • Text structure or progression of ideas, organization, pattern, relationships between ideas
  • Similarities and differences across texts
  • Representation of text in different ways
  • Internal consistency/logic of story, what is or is not typical of a character
  • Author’s purpose
  • Story variants
  • Author’s perspective/point of view
objective 4 items grades 3 5
Objective 4 Items (Grades 3–5)
  • Deeper, more complete understanding of the text, inferential thinking
  • Fact/opinion only with expository/mixed when author’s intent is to persuade
  • Support/evidence from text
objective 4 items grades 4 5
Objective 4 Items (Grades 4–5)
  • Organizational patterns
  • Ability to connect, compare, contrast ideas, themes, or issues (single or paired selections)
sample question28

8 Look at this web about the second man.

Sample Question

Which of these belongs in the empty circle?

A Refuses the guard’s request to empty his pockets

B Admits to stealing the gold coins that are missing

C* Is accused of stealing the king’s cocoa beans

D Asks the guard to find an empty basket for him

Objective 3

grade 4 writing
Grade 4 Writing


  • No unique purposes for writing
  • Open-ended prompts
  • Student’s choice of an approach that best expresses his/her ideas about the topic
  • Standard English prose
  • Focused, holistic scoring 1–4
grade 4 writing31
Grade 4 Writing

Revising and editing (multiple choice)

  • Samples of student writing/peer editing (approximately one page in length, may have photograph or illustration)
  • Grade 4: 175–225 words
  • Numbered sentences
  • No isolated assessment of objectives—all four objectives will be assessed together
grade 4 writing32
Grade 4 Writing

Revision and Editing

  • Editing items—What change, if any, needs to be made in Sentence 5?
  • Revision items
grade 4 writing33
Grade 4 Writing
  • Objectives 1 and 2


  • Objectives 3, 4, 5, and 6


objective 1 composition
Objective 1—Composition
  • Respond directly to the prompt.
  • Organize ideas to show a logical progression of thought.
  • Remain focused on the topic.
  • Develop ideas thoroughly and specifically.
  • Express an individual voice (authentic, personal, natural).
objective 2 composition
Objective 2—Composition

Holistic judgment of the strength of conventions


  • Some errors are more serious and have greater impact on communication (unclear pronoun antecedent vs. incorrect capitalization).
  • Degree of sophistication of student attempts at sentence construction and use of words is taken into account.
grade 4 sample prompt
Grade 4 Sample Prompt

Write a composition about a time when you made a new friend.

The information in the box below will help you remember what you should think about when you write your composition.

  • write about a time when you made a new friend
  • make sure that each sentence you write helps the reader understand your composition
  • write about your ideas in detail so the reader really understands what you are saying
  • try to use correct spelling, capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and sentences
objective 3 items
Objective 3 Items
  • Recognize irrelevant sentences to be deleted.
  • Identify sentences that should be added to elaborate.
objective 4 items
Objective 4 Items
  • Recognize and correct fragments and run-ons.
  • Combine sentences effectively.
  • Improve awkward/wordy sentences.
objective 5 items
Objective 5 Items

Recognize and correct errors in:

  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Pronoun referents
  • Parts of speech
  • Adverbs, adjectives, and their forms
  • Use of double negatives
  • Misuse of homonyms
  • Use of indefinite reference
  • Vague wording
objective 6 items
Objective 6 Items

Recognize and correct errors in:

  • Capitalization
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling




vertical alignment articulation
Vertical Alignment (Articulation)
  • Connects learning across the grade levels
  • Builds cumulative, coherent,comprehensive, increasingly complex sequences of learning experiences
  • Creates seamless education PreK–12
  • Applies systems thinking
instructional implications
Instructional Implications
  • What changes in instruction should occur in our district, school, or classroom based on what we’ve learned about the new objectives, TEKS expectations, and format?
  • What professional development does our staff need?
    • ELA-Reading listserv
    • Assessment listserv
  • Texas Center for Reading and Language Arts
  • Education service centers
  • Professional organizations (NCTE, IRA, TCTE, TSRA, CREST)
  • Critical Issues Report #1—Texas Mentor School Network
tea contacts
TEA Contacts
  • Assessment: 512-463-9536
    • Victoria Young
    • Joan Mims
    • Barbara Tutt
  • Curriculum: 512-463-9581
    • Muffet Livaudais
    • Sarah Crippen
    • Casey McCreary