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Lessons learned from the 2023 3rd Grade Math STAAR

Updated: Mar 6

The 2023 3rd Grade Math STAAR introduced statewide online testing and several new item types. Using a modified version of the statewide item analysis report, I examined the readiness standards that had less than 50% mastery. Each standard has both an analysis of the items themselves to infer what made them so difficult and instructional implications for educators to ensure a more successful 2024 STAAR test.



# of items

% mastery























Access the slide deck here.

3.5A - 19.5% overall mastery

represent one- and two-step problems involving addition and subtraction of whole numbers to 1,000 using pictorial models, number lines, and equations

#7 - 31% correct

#23 - 8% correct

  • Students had to interpret a problem situation and apply it to three possible representations - equations, number lines, and strip diagrams

  • For #24, most chosen answer was step 1 of the 2-step solution

Instructional Implications
  • Have students, when answering word problems for addition and subtraction, represent their answers three ways - equations, number lines, and strip diagrams

  • Students should draw their own pictures and solve the problem before trying to find the correct strip diagram representation


3.7B - 27% overall mastery

determine the perimeter of a polygon or a missing length when given perimeter and remaining side lengths in problems

#21 - 27% correct

  • Students had no visual to support their understanding

  • Answer selections suggest guessing

Instructional Implications
  • Have students draw a rectangle and label it with length and (missing) width

  • Introduce students to the formula for perimeter than they will start to use in 4th grade, P = 2L + 2W


Watch the full walkthrough of all 30 items on the 2023 3rd Grade STAAR below.


3.4K - 28% overall mastery

solve one-step and two-step problems involving multiplication and division within 100 using strategies based on objects; pictorial models, including arrays, area models, and equal groups; properties of operations; or recall of facts

#15 - 28% correct

  • Students had to recognize that only two numbers were multiplied together (11 and 7) while the third number was subtracted

  • Distribution of answer choices suggests guessing

Instructional Implications
  • Have students practice drawing pictures to help solve problems like this, visualizing the 11 cages of 7 birds each

  • Give students the opportunity to check for reasonableness by substituting their answer into the question (e.g., 56 is the greatest number of birds Martin can add to his cages)


3.4A - 44.5% overall mastery

solve with fluency one-step and two-step problems involving addition and subtraction within 1,000 using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and the relationship between addition and subtraction

#9 - 29% correct

#17 - 60% correct

  • For #9, over half of the students (51%) chose option A, simply adding the three numbers on the table

  • Students had to include a number not in the table (27) into the starting total

  • Almost ¼ of the incorrect choices on #17 used addition

Instructional Implications
  • Have students create their own representation to see if it matches the one provided on the test

  • Students should create their own representation if one is not provided


3.5B - 47% overall mastery

represent and solve one- and two-step multiplication and division problems within 100 using arrays, strip diagrams, and equations

#4 - 40% correct

#29 - 54% correct

  • For #4, all four strip diagrams used the numbers 8 and 32

  • Distribution of wrong answers for #4 was similar (24%, 19%, 17%)

  • For #29, answer distribution showed students understood equal groups (A & B = 82%)

Instructional Implications
  • Explain to students meaning of frequently used terms (e.g., total, equal number)

  • Have students solve for the answer and substitute into the representations

  • Have students draw a picture or strip diagram before finding the equation


3.5E - 62% overall mastery

represent real-world relationships using number pairs in a table and verbal

#12 - 51% full credit, 25% partial credit, 24% no credit

#19 - 49% full credit, 21% partial credit, 30% no credit

  • Answer for #12 was given in text (i.e., sends a free gift with each order)

  • Students had to interpret tables that were oriented horizontally and vertically

  • Both questions had students describe the relationship in words rather than with a number sentence or rule (e.g., +1)

Instructional Implications
  • Students should answer practice problems of this type both orally with a partner and in writing

  • In students answers, be sure to include the specifics of the problem (e.g., number of items ordered, number of fish)

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