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STAAR testing begins Tuesday for students

4th, 7th grade students to do writing; 5th, 8th to take math test

SAN ANTONIO – Students get your number two pencils ready, it's that time of year again as STAAR testing begins Tuesday for students.

The STAAR test, or the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness program, assesses students for reading and math, along with writing, the sciences and social studies. 

Fourth and seventh grade students on Tuesday will be completing the writing portion of the exam and fifth and eighth grade students will be taking math. Preparation for the test is incorporated into the curriculum for students.

And while the test is a big deal, teachers say it is not something that parents or students should fret over.

"Once the test begins it is a four-hour test, but most children -- about 85-percent of kids in Texas will finish in about two hours," Lori Gallegos, principal at Kuentz Elementary said.

Educators want to remind parents to have their kids eat a good breakfast and not stress.

"It's not something you can cram for at the end or study for really hard over the weekend to get ready," Gallegos said. "I think the most important thing is to help the children feel relaxed and help them feel confident. No matter what their score is, it doesn't define who they are as a child."

Teachers say the test does demonstrate lessons learned by their students.

"It's important to have a benchmark, a marker to make sure that a student is growing because that is what we do, we grow learners," Karen Conner, a fifth-grade teacher said.

If a student doesn't pass the test, they have two more tries to take it at a later date.

Last year however, the state of Texas fined the company that administers the statewide standardized tests $5.7 million — and ordered it to invest $15 million in future safeguards after computer glitches caused problems for students and school districts last academic year.

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