Get ready, STAAR tests are back

This week, kids in Texas will be sitting down with their No. 2 pencils and opening up a fresh round of STAAR tests and end of course exams.

Here’s the schedule:


Grade 4 Writing

Grade 7 Writing

Grade 5 Mathematics

Grade 8 Mathematics

English I


Grade 5 Reading

Grade 8 Reading


English II


All makeup exams for this round have to be given by this date.

Then we start again in May.

May 1-5

Algebra I


U.S. History

May 8

Grades 3–4 Mathematics

Grades 6–7 Mathematics

Grade 5 Mathematics (retest)

Grade 8 Mathematics (retest)

May 9

Grades 3–4 Reading

Grades 6–7 Reading

English III

Grade 5 Reading (retest)

Grade 8 Reading (retest)

May 10

Grade 5 Science

Grade 8 Science

Algebra II

May 11

Grade 8 Social Studies

May 12

All makeup exams for this round have to be given by this date.

Testing is something nobody loves: Not parents, not teachers and definitely not students — except there’s a lot of down time and snacks.



My daughter’s assistant principal gave some great advice to parents and students in the weekly school email. In addition to the key elements everyone will tell you:

  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before.
  • Have a nice, healthy breakfast.
  • Brink a healthy snack for during testing.

She also offered this:

“Remember, there’s no point in cramming since we have been covering what we will be tested on since August.”

and this strategy:

“As for the test, it’s imperative you take your time. Multiple choice tests are the easiest tests we can take because the answer is on the page. You just have to figure out which one it is. Make sure to read the question first, then try to come up with your own answer before you see the choices. After you read through all the choices, eliminate the ones you know aren’t right. Then, make your best educated guess with the remaining choices.”


So, when your kids are stressing out tomorrow morning … or not seeming to care, give them that advice.


A few years ago, I wrote about kids who were having stomach issues and other ailments because of the pressure of STAAR testing. You can read that story here. 

Some of the best advice from that article was Principal Amy Kinkade’s advice to kids:

■ If you get stuck, instead of getting frustrated skip the question and go back later.

■ Relax and take some deep breaths. Give yourself little breaks and stretch.

■ Take questions a few at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed by the number of questions.

■ Read the questions aloud to yourself.

■ Drink lots of water, chew gum and have protein snacks during the test. It’s all about keeping the brain fed and active.

■ Think of taking the test as cracking the code. Every question might have an element of trickery, so try to understand what the test is really asking.

■ Do positive self talk: I can do it. I’m smart. I know this. I’ve learned this.

The best advice to parents: Above all else, don’t put too much pressure about the test on your kids. Give them encouragement, but don’t make it a thing.

Author: Nicole Villalpando

Nicole Villalpando writes about families in the Raising Austin blog and the Raising Austin column on Saturdays. She also offers a weekly and monthly family calendar at She tweets at @raisingaustin.

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