STAAR Updates to Prep for 2023

reading & ela test prep Dec 18, 2022

It’s that time of year again. 3rd through 5th grade STAAR ELAR Tests are coming up in April.


Here are some updates that you should know about!

Updates to Reading and Writing Tests

Prior to the 2022-2023 school year, 3rd and 5th grades had just reading tests, and 4th grade had both reading and writing on 2 separate tests.


Now it’s combined. 3rd, 4th, AND 5th grade STAAR ELAR Tests will have both reading and writing beginning in the 2022-2023 school year.


The biggest difference between each of the grade levels is the reading load. They all have base tests AND field tests.

Base Tests

Base Tests are used to measure student knowledge, and so they DO contribute to students’ scores.


Reading will have 2 single reading passages and 1 paired passage. The reading load for the base tests for each grade are as follows:


  • 3rd grade - 2,740 words maximum
  • 4th grade - 3,040 words maximum
  • 5th grade - 3,190 words maximum


Writing will have 2 revising passages, 2 editing passages, and 1 constructed response, which is essentially a composition.


Both reading and writing passage genres can be fiction, poetry, or drama. It can also be literary non-fiction, informational, correspondence, argumentative, or persuasive. You can help students prepare for informational passages with this resource, which I use with my students as well.


As for the questions and point systems for the base tests, they are broken down in 3 sections.


  • 38 multiple choice/non-multiple choice questions - 1 point each
  • 2 non-multiple choice questions - 2 points each
  • 1 constructed response question - worth 10 points


Passages may be from any of the following genres:

  • fiction
  • poetry
  • drama
  • literary non-fiction
  • informational
  • correspondence
  • argumentative
  • persuasive


The schematics are broken down in more detail by grade here!

Field Tests

Field Tests are questions that are still in the development stage. They DO NOT contribute to a student’s score. For folks who are new to Texas and STAAR tests, here is some more information about why the state does field testing!


This section will include ONLY ONE of the following, paired with 6 multiple choice and non-multiple choice questions:

  • single reading passage
  • paired reading passage
  • single revising passage
  • two short editing passages

You can read more about the structure of field tests here, listed by grade.


As mentioned before, if you’d like some resources to help your students prepare for these assessments, here is a Nonfiction Test Prep Resource that I liked using with my students. It includes 10 informational text passages with 3 activities for each, and focuses on a wide variety of skills.



What else would you like to know about STAAR tests and how to prepare for them?


Wishing your students the best of luck!


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