Lessons learned from the 2023 6th Grade Math STAAR
The 2023 6th 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.
Standard | # of items | % mastery |
6.8D | 1 | 15 |
6.12D | 1 | 20 |
6.11A | 2 | 30.5 |
6.4B | 2 | 31 |
6.5B | 2 | 31.5 |
6.7A | 1 | 33 |
6.6C | 1 | 38 |
6.7D | 1 | 38 |
6.3D | 2 | 44.5 |
6.3E | 2 | 48 |
6.4G | 2 | 49.5 |
Access the slide deck here.
6.8D - 15% overall mastery
determine solutions for problems involving the area of rectangles, parallelograms, trapezoids, and triangles and volume of right rectangular prisms where dimensions are positive rational numbers
#25 - 15% full credit, 50% partial credit, 34% no credit
Analysis
Multiselect took away certainty of multiple choice
Correct answers included both triangles and a rectangle
Students had to use two different formulas for area
Instructional Implications
Practice finding area of multiple shapes (e.g., rectangle, square, parallelogram, triangle, trapezoid) that result in same answer
Have students manipulate shape dimensions to reach a target area (e.g., What could you change the width/height to in order to make the area 15 square cm?)
6.12D - 20% overall mastery
summarize categorical data with numerical and graphical summaries, including the mode, the percent of values in each category (relative frequency table), and the percent bar graph, and use these summaries to describe the data distribution
#5 - 20% full credit, 50% partial credit, 30% no credit
Analysis
Students had to know definition of mode and apply it
Finding percentage of campers who chose basketball required students to first find the total
Inline choice required accessing the data multiple times for different purposes
Instructional Implications
Find mode, median, and range of ALL data sets
Practice percentage of the total for single selection or multiple selections (e.g., basketball and soccer)
Watch the full walkthrough of all 36 items on the 2023 6th Grade STAAR below.
6.11A - 30.5% overall mastery
graph points in all four quadrants using ordered pairs of rational numbers
#14 - 23% correct
#22 - 38% correct
Analysis
Graphing item type required placing point on x = -0.5 (scale factor of 1)
Students had to know where quadrant III was
Point Z on #22 was not plotted
Points were mixed numbers (not integers) distant from given point
Answer distribution on #22 suggests guessing
Instructional Implications
Utilize mnemonic to memorize 4 quadrants
Practice plotting half-points in various quadrants
Find vertical and horizontal distance from a given point in a variety of directions
6.4B - 31% overall mastery
apply qualitative and quantitative reasoning to solve prediction and comparison of real-world problems involving ratios and rates
#13 - 35% correct
#32 - 27% full credit, 26% partial credit, 47% no credit
Analysis
Most chosen response for #13 (B - 38%) didnâ€™t use a ratio, divided 63 by 3
Correct ratio for #13 used hidden number for total (7)
Drag and drop for #32 eliminated assurance of multiple choice
Ratio and table for #32 had no tricks (e.g, ratio of 2:3 set up on table exactly)
Instructional Implications
Have students solve problems involving finding a part if given a ratio and the whole (like #13) and finding a part if given the ratio (like #32)
Use tables (like #32) so students find multiple missing parts, not just one
6.5B - 31.5% overall mastery
solve real-world problems to find the whole given a part and the percent, to find the part given the whole and the percent, and to find the percent given the part and the whole, including the use of concrete and pictorial models
#8 - 12% correct
#30 - 51% correct
Analysis
Equation editor took away certainty of multiple choice
#8 required finding the complement
Finding the part given whole and percent requires multiple steps
Instructional Implications
For any problem, have students find both the part/percent and the complement
Have students practice showing multiple methods of solving the problem
Converting fraction to percent (like #30)
Finding the complement (like #8)
6.7A - 33% overall mastery
generate equivalent numerical expressions using order of operations, including whole number exponents and prime factorization
#16 - 33% correct
Analysis
Order of operations included parentheses, exponents, multiplication, and subtraction
Within parentheses students had to simplify exponent before subtracting
Answer distribution suggests guessing
Instructional Implications
Provide order of operations problems that include 4 or more operations
Problems should have students divide before multiplying, subtract before adding
Use brackets in addition to parentheses
6.8C - 38% overall mastery
represent a given situation using verbal descriptions, tables, graphs, and equations in the form y = kx or y = x + b
#6 - 38% correct
Analysis
Most chosen incorrect answer has x and y values inverted
Students should have plotted points (of their own choosing)
Students had to recognize a multiplicative relationship
Instructional Implications
Have students plot both an additive and a multiplicative relationship (e.g., y = 3x and y = 3 + x) on the same coordinate grid to differentiate
Have students explain similarities and differences of options A and C (common incorrect answer choice)
6.7D - 38% overall mastery
generate equivalent expressions using the properties of operations: inverse, identity, commutative, associative, and distributive properties
#31 - 38% correct
Analysis
Students had to recognize the distributive property
Typically the distributive property shows the multiplier in front of the multiplicand
Most chosen answer (incorrect - B) only multiplied the constants
Instructional Implications
Name the distributive property using academic vocabulary
Give students the opportunity to explain why the distributive property works and draw examples (e.g., area model of multiplication)
Have students check their work using substitution
6.3D - 44.5% overall mastery
add, subtract, multiply, and divide integers fluently
#11 - 22% correct
#26 - 67% correct
Analysis
Students had to subtract a negative
Correct solution required dividing before subtracting
The parentheses had no operation
Answer distribution for #11 suggests guessing, correct answer was least chosen
Instructional Implications
Give students multiple representations for subtracting a negative (e.g., number line, algebra tiles)
Have students solve problems correctly and left â†’ right to see the difference between the two
6.3E - 48% overall mastery
multiply and divide positive rational numbers fluently
#4 - 59% correct
#28 - 37% correct
Analysis
Students didnâ€™t struggle with multiplying a decimal with a mixed number (#4)
Students had to recognize dividing by a fraction in a problem situation (#28)
Most chosen incorrect answer (B) for #28 had students multiplying by a fraction - 32% chosen
Instructional Implications
Have students draw a representation of the word problem to help identify the correct operation
Have students use inverse operation to check their work
Give students the opportunity to explain their solution verbally to help determine reasonableness
6.4G - 49.5% overall mastery
generate equivalent forms of fractions, decimals, and percents using real-world problems, including problems that involve money
#3 - 60% correct
#33 - 39% correct
Analysis
Students didnâ€™t struggle with turning a ratio (8 out of 25) into a percent (#3)
Changing a percent into a fraction (5% â†’ 1/20) resulting in an answer that looked completely different
Most chosen answer for #33 (A - 0.5) involved a simple decimal misplacement
Instructional Implications
Practice changing from percent to fraction in a variety of ways (e.g., 5% â†’ 0.05 â†’ 5/100 â†’ 1/20 or 5% â†’ 5/100 â†’ 1/20)
Have students explain answer verbally to help check for reasonableness (e.g., 5% times 20 makes 100%, so 20 times 1/20 makes one whole)