HB 3906 (2019) and HB 3261 (2021) require that new item types be developed for the STAAR tests. HB 3261 changes §39.023 (c-8) to read, “Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, no more than 75 percent of the available points on an assessment developed under Subsection (a) or (c) may be attributable to questions presented in a multiple choice format.” The tests developed under Subsection (a) or (c) are the grades 3-8 STAAR tests and the EOC STAAR tests.
Teachers utilizing best teaching practices engage their students with content in multiple ways and provide open-ended formats to respond to questions. These new, non-multiple choice items are more like the questions teachers ask in class. Many new item types (multiselect, hot spot, hot text, etc.) also allow for polytomous scoring or partial credit. Multiple choice and griddable answers are scored dichotomously; they are either right (worth one point) or wrong (worth no points). Depending on the individual question, the new item types can be worth multiple points. Other than the extended constructed response items, the maximum number of points any of the items in the new item sampler sets is worth is two points.
There is nothing special that a student will need to do to submit their answers to the new item types. Once the student is satisfied with their answer, they will go to the next item. All responses are available for the student to review before submitting their test.
TEA is set to release the list of new item types used on future STAAR tests by grade level and content area in the summer of 2022. The information in this chart and provided below is preliminary and represents the subset from which the new STAAR questions will be pulled.
Sample sets of the new item types can be found on the Online Practice Test site. Use Guest User and Guest Session to log in. Select the grade level desired and then one of the green New Item Type selections to see the items. You can also select any online accessibility features you may want to preview. Answer keys to the new item type questions are also available.
Text entry items are electronic versions of fill-in-the-blank questions. Text entry items may be seen on any STAAR test in any content area (3-8 and EOC). The student will respond by typing a brief string of text (word or phrase). They will receive a warning if they try to enter an unallowed character as part of their answer.
Equation editor item types are similar to text entry items, with numbers and symbols. Equation editor items may be seen on any STAAR math test (3-8 and Algebra I). The student will have the opportunity to enter numerical responses or responses in the form of fractions, expressions, equations, or inequalities. Answers may be entered using the device’s keyboard or by clicking numbers and symbols displayed on the device’s screen. Students will not be able to use the keyboard to enter characters not displayed on the screen. Only grade-appropriate symbols will be displayed for use.
Graphing items may be seen on any STAAR math test (3-8 and Algebra I). The type of graph within the item (bar graph, coordinate plane, etc.) and the task(s) the student is asked to do will be grade-appropriate. A student will be given data in the item and will be asked to independently create different types of graphs. The student may have to click and drag bars within a bar graph to the correct height/length, plot points or click and drag points on a coordinate plane, determine if a line should be solid or broken, choose a solution set, etc.
Items that include a number line may be seen on any STAAR math test (3-8 and Algebra I). A student will be presented with an equation and a number line. Based on the equation, the student will have to plot their answer on the number line. Depending on the student’s grade level, this could involve plotting a single point on the number line or correctly placing a ray on the number line. Placing a ray on the number line would involve determining if the ray should be open or closed and the ray’s directionality and endpoint.
Inline choice items include one or more drop-down menus from which the student will choose the correct word, phrase, symbol, etc. Inline choice items may be included on any STAAR reading/language arts (RLA), math, or social studies test (3-8 or EOC). The student will be presented with information and a statement(s) based on the information. A keyword(s) will be omitted from the idea, and a drop-down menu(s) will be in its place. The student will be expected to choose the item(s) from the drop-down menu choices to correctly complete the statement(s).
Hot spot items have a graphic with clickable areas (hot spots). The student will have to click on one or more of the hot spots to answer a question. Hot spot items may be included on any STAAR math, science, or social studies test (3-8 or EOC). If multiple hot spots are to be chosen, the item may tell the student how many they are to choose. If the number is given, the student will not be allowed to choose more hot spots than indicated. To change an answer choice, the student must re-click the hot spot they do not want to be included before clicking the new one.
Hot text items are similar to hot spot items but with words instead of graphics. The student must click on one or more hot texts (words, phrases, sentences, etc.) to indicate their response to a question. Hot text items may be included on STAAR 3-5 RLA, 8th grade social studies, and U.S. History EOC tests. Text that is available to be chosen will be clearly indicated, and text that has been chosen by the student as an answer will be clearly indicated in another manner. If multiple groups of hot text are to be chosen, the item may tell the student how many they are to choose. If the number is given, the student will not be allowed to choose more hot test groups than indicated. To change an answer choice, the student must re-click the hot text they do not want to be included before clicking the new one.
Fraction model items will require students to design pictorial models of fractions. Fraction model items may be found on the STAAR 3-5 math tests. Given a problem, the student will need to indicate the total number of sections for their pictorial model (the denominator) and the number of those sections that must be shaded (the numerator) to represent the fraction. Students could also be given a shape divided into the appropriate number of sections and asked to click on sections to shade them and represent the numerator.
Drag and Drop
Drag and drop items will require students to click on answer choices (words, numbers, symbols, etc.), drag their choice to a location in a diagram, map, chart, etc., and drop it into place. Hot spot items may be included on any STAAR RLA, science, or social studies test (3-8 or EOC). Only one answer choice may be placed in any one final location. More answer choices may be given than there are final locations. To replace an answer choice that has already been placed, the original choice must be moved back to the list of choices before the new one can be placed in that location.
Multipart items consist of two multiple choice questions, questions A and B. The answer to question B often depends on the student’s answer to question A. Multipart items may be included on any STAAR math, science, or social studies test (3-8 or EOC). The student is told that the item is multipart if the two questions are related and is expected to select a response for each question.
Multiselect items have one question with multiple choice answer choices; however, there is more than one answer for the question. Multiselect items may be seen on any STAAR test in any content area (3-8 and EOC). The student will be told that they should choose more than one answer and may be told how many correct responses they should find. If this is the case, the test will only allow them to select that many answer choices. If the student wants to change one of the responses they have already chosen, they must click the unwanted response to clear it before clicking their new choice.
Match Table Grid
In a match table grid, the student will match statements or objects to categories on a grid. Match table grid items may be included on STAAR 6-8 math, Algebra I EOC, 8th grade RLA, English I & II EOC, and all social studies tests. The student will be presented with information and a grid. The left column of the grid will contain words or symbols. There will be a description above all the other columns, with checkboxes in each item’s row under each column. The student will click the checkbox in the column of the description that matches the item. Only one checkbox per item may be selected. If the student wishes to change their choice, they must click the checked checkbox to clear the check and then click the new checkbox.
Short Constructed Response
To answer a short constructed response item, the student will give a brief explanation in their own words to demonstrate their understanding of the content. This type of item may be included on any STAAR math, science, or social studies test (3-8 or EOC). Responses may be up to 4756 characters in length, not including spaces. The question will contain two parts, both of which must be answered in the student’s response to receive full credit. Responses will be scored using a 2-point rubric by one human scorer. Rubrics will be item-specific.
Extended Constructed Response
Extended constructed response (ECR) items will require the student to provide an in-depth response by explaining, analyzing, and evaluating information in a reading selection or stimulus. Extended constructed response items may be included on any STAAR RLA test (3-8 or EOC). 3rd-5th grade ECR items will be either informational or argumentative, and 6th-8th and EOC ECR items will be either information, argumentative, or correspondence. The genres of the ECRs will not be released before testing.
The student’s responses will be based on a passage they have read. Information from the passage will be needed to answer other items as well. The student will be expected to cite evidence from the passage in their ECR. Their response can be up to 2300 characters long, not including spaces.
ECRs will be scored by two human scorers, each using a 5-point rubric. Students can receive up to ten points for their ECR. Sample rubrics will be released later in the summer of 2022.
Butch has worked with testing and accountability for 15 years at the campus, district, regional, and state levels. Originally from North Carolina, Butch is the State Assessment Specialist for the Education Service Center Region 13, helping district test coordinators and others navigate the world of STAAR and TELPAS testing. He is available to answer any of your state testing policy and procedure questions.