What You Need to Know Before Taking a STAAR® English Test

What You Need to Know Before Taking a STAAR® English Test

The STAAR® English tests measure a student’s ability in reading and writing across multiple categories. Students must pass two English STAAR® tests (English I and English II) to be eligible for high school graduation in Texas. These exams are generally taken after completing the corresponding course (English I or English II) in high school. The two test levels are similar, so, as you prepare to take a STAAR® English Test, here are some things to know about the exam and what to expect.

What Skills and Course Content Will the Test Cover?

Three main categories of skills are measured on the STAAR® English test: Reading, Writing, and Composition. The reading and writing questions are in a multiple-choice format and there are 52 of them. The composition question is one essay prompt to which you must respond with a thorough, thoughtful, coherent response. There is a 5-hour time limit for a STAAR® English test, and that time is divided between the multiple-choice and essay writing portions.

What Reading Skills Will the Test Measure?

The reading questions are generally tied to reading passages. You will need to read the passage to be able to answer the questions. Your ability to recognize a variety of genres and navigate through the reading appropriately is assessed, so knowing how to approach literary texts versus informational texts, for example, is important. Being able to identify the unique features of poetry versus drama versus a short story is also important. The reading questions will measure your skills in analyzing, synthesizing, drawing conclusions, and making inferences. You will need to be able to identify the main idea of a passage as opposed to the supporting details that may be included. A foundational understanding of grade-level vocabulary and knowing how to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words is a skill that will be assessed. You should also know and be able to identify and evaluate the effectiveness of an author’s use of literary terms, sometimes while you compare multiple texts.

How Is Writing Tested?

These questions measure your ability to identify and correct mistakes in a text written by someone else. Knowing how to revise a text while considering purpose, audience, and genre will be tested with these questions. You may be asked for the best way to combine sentences or which sentence should be added or deleted to enhance the meaning of a text. Questions may also assess your understanding of sentence variety, diction, organization, and evaluation of evidence. Be sure to review the parts of an essay, things like introduction, conclusion, thesis statement, etc.

What Is Involved in the Composition Assessment?

In this section of the test, you will be given one essay question or prompt to which you must write a response. Using your understanding of the writing process, you will be evaluated on the clarity and cohesion of your response. Utilizing the skills of planning, drafting, revising, and editing, your score will be dependent upon your ability to plan and write a thoughtful response that includes a clear thesis statement, organizes and develops ideas effectively, and is free of grammatical, spelling, or punctuation mistakes.

How Should I Prepare for this Test?

There is a lot to review before taking the STAAR® test, but you have already learned the concepts in your English classwork. The STAAR® is simply an assessment tool to see how well you can apply what you have learned. With a little review, preparation, and practice, you should be ready to tackle the STAAR® English test.

We can help you with that review with free study guides, flashcards, and practice questions.You’ll see that our review for the English I and II tests is divided not only by test level, but also into review for each of the three skills tested: reading, writing, and composition. Check us out and be thoroughly ready and feel confident before your test.

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