Digging Deeper for Data Trends

Data is everywhere! But did you know that you can find data by digging into your state test? What data can be revealed just by analyzing test questions? You can identify patterns of the test and make predictions for future questions – especially if you have several years of release tests to study.
Teachers analyze the STAAR.
     Recently, I conducted a workshop to guide teachers on analyzing the 8th grade Social Studies STAAR test (the first half of US History). This test has the lowest scores in the state, and many students are struggling with it.  Teachers are having to find new methods of instruction and dive deeper into data to predict trends.
    The group of teachers I was working with was planning a unit on the Constitution.  They needed to know how the state had assessed this unit in the past. I printed up the last 4 STAAR release tests and identified every test question for the unit.  As the teachers analyzed the questions and categorized them by topic, interesting patterns were revealed. 


The Bill of Rights is heavily tested every year!
Kids need to know how to amend the constitution.


Wow! Look at all those Federalist questions!
In this unit, a large percentage of test questions came from the Federalists and Anti-Federalists; and each year they asked different point of view questions on the same topic! Primary sources were also used in the stimulus for a majority of the test questions. I demonstrated how to incorporate obscure primary sources in instruction through my Washington’s Farewell Address lesson.
    The vocabulary for this unit is OVERWHELMING! 
They want my kids to know What!?!
Several active vocabulary strategies can be uses for instruction in this unit – my favorite of which is the Vocabulary Pyramid.
    I also noticed that this unit focuses on a specific skill – drawing conclusions.  The Human Spectrum is a great strategy for student to practice this specific skill.
Coincidentally the kids weakest skill.


    Good luck with your test analysis! I would love to hear what you find!

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