STAAR Question #4 Incorrect

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Scores for the 2014 5th grade Science STAAR need to be revisArt is incorrect, thus this STAAR test is invalid.ed.

Twenty seven percent of the 5th grade students did not select choice “F.” Actually there is no correct answer because the diagram shown is not correct.

The photo of the bear in water is real. Notice how far away the head of the polar bear is from the bear’s underwater body image. The position of the viewer affects the image. But, the diagram of the child in a swimming pool is wrong. If the viewer is looking directly at the child as shown, there would be no noticeable change in the body size.

Water itself does not magnify objects in it. The diagram for question #4 would be correct if the person were in a container with curved sides. This is because the light rays will diverge (refract outward) when passing through the curved (convex) boundary of the container.

The 2014 Science STAAR scores for  96,178 Texas 5th graders need to be corrected. Question #4 is not valid.

The TEKS for question #4 is:

5.6C The student is expected to demonstrate that light travels in a straight line until it strikes an object or travels through one medium to another and demonstrate that light can be reflected such as the use of mirrors or other shiny surfaces and refracted such as the appearance of an object when observed through water;
Refraction of Polar Bear in Water

Yep! This is what Texas teachers are given to prepare students for the 5th grade Science STAAR test. As you can see, the TEKS are vague. Chapters can be written about each part of TEKS 5.6C and still not contain facts represented on the STAAR tests.

The 20 Texas Education Service Centers (ESCs) were given a grant of $200 Million dollars to prepare TEKS materials and provide workshops for teachers. This money was provide by the state legislatures and called the Rider 42 Grant.

The 20 ESCs were paid the $200 million but they did not prepare materials to assist teachers in understanding the TEKS. Yes they had a few workshops which they fail to promote so a small percent of teachers attended. Yes, there was materials but it is doesn’t do much more more than show teachers how to do a couple of experiments.

The 20 ESCs were more interesting in revising the product that they were selling to schools called CSCOPE. As vendors the 20 ESCs now sell products and charge for workshops even though the state provides them with millions of dollars each year to assist the schools across Texas.

The CSCOPE lessons have been banned–well let me correct this. The CSCOPE lessons may not be sold or used in any way by the 20 ESCs. This mandate came from the Texas Senate Education Committee. The 20 ESCs are no longer allowed to write and sell lessons. But, they are still selling the gutted CSCOPE Curriculum (same stuff without the lessons).

For the 2013 and 2014 5th grade Science STAAR tests schools purchasing TRS instruction materials had  Instructional Focus Documents (IFDs). The information on the IFD for TEKS 5.6C is shown below.

Why don’t teachers report the CSCOPE/TRS instructional material as being a farce–of little value–not worth the money–a waste of time—? The answer is that for reasons known only by administrators purchasing the TRS materials teachers are victimized for speaking against this material. If they want to keep their job, they keep quiet and dig up their own materials for their lessons.

Think About This:

Did your child have a science book last year?
Did your school district purchase the TRS Instructional Materials from the ESCs?

If so, then the following Instructional Focus Document previously called CSCOPE and now called TRS, is what 5th grade teachers were given to prepare students to answer STAAR questions about TEKS 5.6C.

Why are Texas school administrators paying for such useless information? Why did Texas school administrators give positive testify before the state senate education committee hearing on CSCOPE. Some praised this material. Why?

The TRS instructional Material IFDs do not align with the STAAR Questions.

What do you think?

TRD IFD for light energy is no more help than the TEKS 5.6C.

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  1. Please see this link. Scroll down to the part about refraction and look at the pictures!!!

  2. Hi Janice,

    This is a great article. You and Ginger have done an incredible job. Grand Prairie ais still bullying taxpayers over CSCOPE.

    Carole Haynes

  3. Scott Klump says:

    Although lateral displacement isn’t shown I see nothing wrong with this question. It is a simple question to see if students can associate water’s magnifying properties with refraction. The exaggeration of magnification is incidental because having a diagram showing the actual 1.28% magnification would be difficult.

    • Janice VanCleave says:

      A flat surface would not cause the magnification shown in the diagram for #4. Why use an incorrect diagram? In physics, you can read about defraction-magnification, which is shown by the diagram. But this only occurs IF the surface between the water and air is curved (convex).

      Kids see a pencil appear to be bent and magnified because it is in a cylinder–beaker or glass. Why use incorrect art on the STAAR test? It would be easier to use something that is correct. Why do you defend using art that is confusing?

  4. Fil Barnes says:

    You mean 5th graders were not supposed to realize that it was a cylindrical, glass pool?

    • Janice VanCleave says:

      I’ve never seen a cylindrical glass swimming pool, so I feel safe in saying that 5th grade students were not introduced to the physics of refraction-magnification. This is more of a high school physics concept and it not part of 5th grade science.

      Students in the 5th grade are to recognize basic refraction-distortion, such as a pencil appearing to be broken when standing in a glass of water. The refraction-magnification of the pencil due the curved interface of the glass is not and taught.

      The diagram is incorrect, thus Question #4 on the 2014 STAAR test is not valid. Students need their scores corrected.
      In my local school district, teachers have to use the TRS instruction materials, as shown in the article. Teachers have to research the content of the TEKS to create their lessons. Most elementary teacher do not have a background in science.