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Lessons learned from the 2023 4th Grade Math STAAR

Updated: Feb 23

The 2023 4th 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.

4.8C - 25.5% overall mastery

solve problems that deal with measurements of length, intervals of time, liquid volumes, mass, and money using addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division as appropriate

#6 - 33% correct

#23 - 18% correct

  • Students had to regroup units in non-base 10 systems

  • Answer selections for #23 indicated guessing

  • Correct answer for #23 was least chosen option (18%)

Instructional Implications
  • Draw representations using arrays

  • Practice subtracting and regrouping in non-base 10 systems

  • Convert all units into smallest measurement


4.4H - 30% overall mastery

solve with fluency one- and two-step problems involving multiplication and division, including interpreting remainders

#27 - 30% correct

  • Students had to multiply first and then divide

  • Interpreting the remainder involved adding one extra unit

  • Most chosen answer (B - 45%) excluded the interpreted remainder

Instructional Implications
  • Practice drawing representations of the problem in multiple ways

  • Arrays

  • Strip diagrams

  • Pictures

  • Focus on explicitly looking for remainders and how they should be interpreted in real-world situations


Watch the full walkthrough of all 32 items on the 2023 4th Grade STAAR below.


4.3E - 33% overall mastery

represent and solve addition and subtraction of fractions with equal denominators using objects and pictorial models that build to the number line and properties of operations

#29 - 33% correct

  • Equation editor took away security of multiple choice

  • Creating a fraction is not intuitive with equation editor

  • Students had to add mystery and sports books for correct numerator

Instructional Implications
  • Practice with equation editor on the STAAR platform, asking students to generate

  • Mixed numbers

  • Improper fractions

  • Proper fractions


4.5A - 37% overall mastery

represent multi-step problems involving the four operations with whole numbers using strip diagrams and equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity

#5 - 42% correct

#18 - 32% correct

  • For #5, option A (41%) was chosen as equally as correct answer (C - 42%)

  • For #5, option A had only one difference - operation (not numbers)

  • For #18, option D (46%) was chosen more than correct answer (B - 32%)

  • For #18, option D doubled the $20 (2 adults cost TOTAL of $20)

Instructional Implications
  • Have students solve each problem and substitute in answer for variable

  • Draw pictures to represent each answer - either strip diagrams or pictorial representations

  • Double-check work with answer rather than simply trying to find correct sequence


4.2G - 47.5% overall mastery

relate decimals to fractions that name tenths and hundredths

#13 - 45% full credit, 26% partial credit, 29% no credit

#28 - 37% correct

  • Inline choice had three fields to fill in, each with four choices

  • Students had to convert improper fraction to decimal

  • Correct answer for #28 showed place value only going to the tenths digit

  • Both questions involved a whole number and a decimal

Instructional Implications
  • Practice converting decimals to fractions that involve whole numbers (improper fractions)

  • Practice converting decimals to mixed numbers

  • Practice converting improper fractions to decimals that include dropping a zero


4.3D - 55% overall mastery

compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators and represent the comparison using the symbols >, =, or <

#8 - 52% full credit, 38% partial credit, 10% no credit

#26 - 39% correct

  • Students had to convert mixed number into improper fraction

  • Fractions had to be converted to equivalent fractions to compare with no visual references (#26)

Instructional Implications
  • Practice the algorithm for finding least common denominator

  • Practice the algorithm for creating equivalent fractions using least common denominator

  • Help students discriminate when they can use visuals and when they need to use the algorithm to generate equivalent fractions


4.4A - 46% overall mastery

add and subtract whole numbers and decimals to the hundredths place using the standard algorithm

#14 - 46% correct

  • Students had to identify correct operation from real-world context

  • Option C (43%) was chosen almost as much as the correct answer (A - 46%) but involved addition rather than subtraction

Instructional Implications
  • Have students create a strip diagram (comparison) to represent the problem

  • Give students opportunities to generate equations to represent the problem, using a letter to stand for an unknown quantity

  • Have students check their work by substituting their answer for the unknown quantity


4.7C - 70% overall mastery

determine the approximate measures of angles in degrees to the nearest whole number using a protractor

#25 - 50% full credit, 39% partial credit, 11% no credit

  • Multiple select removed certainty of multiple choice

  • One correct selection involved neither ray on the 0/180 line or on the 20/160 line

  • Rays cover up the numbers on the protractor

Instructional Implications
  • Show students how to eliminate answers by classifying angles as acute, right, and obtuse

  • Have students identify angles that have one ray on the 0/180 line

  • Practice measuring angles with neither ray on the 0/180 line by subtracting

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