The 5th GRADE Science STAAR Question Has Errors.
Texas has what are called Independent School Districts, which at one time meant that school districts had local control. Now the Texas Education Agency, TEA controls what your children are taught either directly or indirectly. Sadly Texas education has one focus, the STAAR TESTS. Everything bought and taught must have the objective of preparing students for the STAAR Tests.
No matter how well students perform during the school year, even honor roll students can and have been failed due to STAAR Test grades. The grading of the STAAR tests is just as much a mystery as are the tests. Teachers are told to prepare students to take the STAAR test by aligning their lessons to the Texas state standards called TEKS. Because the Texas Education Service Centers (ESCs) have been allowed to sell products, this group of 20 agencies created and sold an online product called CSCOPE, which was promoted as being so comprehensive textbooks were not needed. The 20 ESCs are still selling the gutted CSCOPE curriculum (lessons removed) under the name of TEKS Resource System (TRS). The bottom line is that teachers in many Texas public schools have no textbooks and are forced to use incorrect TRS instruction materials. On top of this, the state standards were revised so that they are now vague and in some cases incorrect. The revision was said to add rigor to the standards.
Texas education needs parents and other concerned citizens to take the time to evaluate the education materials Texas educators are forced to use to teach our children. Also, please take time to evaluate the released STAAR tests. I am more familiar with science, so I am starting with the 5th grade science STAAR test.
Please review Question #17 below. Note that out of 351,577 students that took the 5th grade science STAAR in April, 2013, only 43% chose the designated correct answer.Problems with Question #17:
The diagram itself is incorrect. Weathered solid rock produces SEDIMENT NOT BEACH SAND. Also, the the format of the diagram is unusual.
TEA announced that 40% of the Science STAAR tests will be dual coded for Content TEKS and Science Process Skills TEKS. Question #17 is correctly coded for TEKS content 5.7A, but is incorrectly coded for science process skills TEKS 5.2D. Note that the question requires that students interpret a diagram, which is not a description of a science investigation, thus question #17 does not represent TEKS 5.2D.
TEKS 5.2 Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student uses scientific methods during laboratory and outdoor investigations. The student is expected to:
D. Analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct (observable) and indirect (inferred) evidence.