Christmas is over and I should be putting away my holiday lights and taking down the tree. Instead, I spent the day making these! It’s cathartic! Year 2017 is just around the corner. Happy NEW YEAR from the Pensive Sloth! You can click here to see the lists from 2015 and 2016 if you would like.
In honor of Lesson Deli–my bloggy buddy group–reaching 1000 fans on Facebook, four of my best-selling resources are only $1.00 this weekend. If you teach about insect metamorphosis, persuasive text, financial literacy and taxes, or weathering, erosion, and deposition…stock up now!
Visit TPT and use the #bestfansever hashtag to search for other great resources on sale for a buck. Thanks for being the #bestfansever.
STAAR scores for Texas students finally came out on July 5th. For 4th grade writing, it literally took 13 weeks. The other tests took forever, too. We took the tests in early May and got results in July??? Really. For reference, it took longer to get STAAR results than it takes to get SAT scores and about the same amount of time as it takes to get bar exam results back. That’s not the purpose of this post, though. I thought I’d make some fun graphs to show the growth, or lack there of, from last year to this year across the state of Texas.
Here are the scores students need to pass the tests. In my book, passing is a 70 or above. On STAAR, you only need to get in the 40s and 50s to pass. Most of the passing rates went up by one question, except science. Science stayed the same. The writing test was also cut in half this year compared to last, but the percentage needed to pass still went up a wee bit.
So, now we look at whether or not students did better. The passing rates went up slightly, so that makes it a little difficult to compare. It would be helpful to know the average score on each test. I couldn’t find that data. Here’s how many Texas students passed the tests.
- Minimal growth at the elementary level between 2015 and 2016. There were just as many downs as there were ups. None of them very significant, but it is hard to compare considering that kids had to get one more question right to pass this year. Plus we have a new publisher running the tests. Lots of variables in play! You can read the press release from TEA here. I wish I could find averages. I’d love to see those!
- I’m guessing there is more test prep happening now that publishing companies have had a chance to produce materials. Necessary, but certainly not my favorite part of the year. For me, it seems to last from January until May. And our low SES students get even more of it than our high SES kiddos. Scores will probably continue to rise slowly because of this. Plus, teachers can see the released tests now and make sure we are using the question stems.
- I wonder why they didn’t raise the passing rate for science? They did for all the other elementary tests. And they said they were going to raise it. Hmm…
Want to see the data directly from TEA–
- Passing Rates–These are the raw score conversion tables that show what students have to make to be considered as passing STAAR.
- Percent of Students Passing–How many Texas kids passed the test? Check out the Statewide Summary Reports for more info.
- I checked and double checked my numbers. If you notice an error, please email me so I can fix it. Passing rates were figured by dividing the number of questions needed to pass by the total number of questions and rounding.
In my book, I’ll give the STAAR test a 48% and I guess that’s passing, right?
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.
–The Pensive Sloth
Spiral review. When I think about spiraling through skills, math is the first thing that comes to mind. But daily review isn’t just for math, it can also be very powerful for science! Students need repetition and multiple opportunities to engage with content and vocabulary if we want them to hold onto the concepts we are teaching. Here’s an idea for adding a little spiral review to your science routine.
- Give students a copy of this recording sheet. It’s free to download, just click here. There are 5 spaces, one for each day of the week.
- Display a photo of matter. This can be anything! Just do a Google search and show a photo of salt, copper pennies, an iron nail, a helium balloon, a wood popsicle stick, a plastic fork, etc.
- Let students talk with a partner and fill out the chart for that type of matter, discussing magnetism, physical state, relative density, solubility, and conductivity.
- Finally, share and discuss as a class, having students make corrections on their chart.
If you don’t want to make copies, you can just make an anchor chart with the questions and have students create the chart on a sheet of notebook paper or in their notebooks. My suggestion is to have them do this in their science notebooks for 2 weeks straight. Then, once a week for a while. I think if you did this every day, all year long, it would get old really fast! Something like this–
Go forth and teach science!
–The Pensive Sloth
Here comes a shameless plug…If you are interested in a version of this that includes 30 slides of different “matter,” a teacher answer key, and several recording sheet options, you’re in luck! I’ve got one at TPT and you can find it HERE. There’s also a challenge question on each slide to get students thinking, and a version of slides as task cards so you can put it in a science station.