At Great Hearts Irving, we seek to educate the whole person—mind, body, heart, and soul. We believe that education is a profoundly humane task that cultivates intellectual excellence, physical excellence, and moral excellence. When students are viewed in this way, it is clear that scores on standardized assessments could never provide a complete picture of their academic progress. Standardized tests are only one element of our ongoing, organic, and holistic approach to student evaluation rooted in teachers’ qualitative assessment of students’ sense of wonder, depth of inquiry, and participation during lessons. Nevertheless, formal, standardized assessments do provide valuable information to our teachers and administrators on our students’ academic progress, how we might be able to make our exceptional instruction even richer and more effective, and where we may be able to provide individual students additional supports.
We prepare our scholars for standardized tests by filling their minds with beautiful thoughts, their imaginations with beautiful images, and their hearts with beautiful habits. The first priority of this school community is our exceptional course of study and our students’ long-term development as life-long learners, not results on a test. We do not wish for our students to feel anxious about the STAAR or any other test. We ask that you join us in helping your child view the world, their studies, and their accomplishments in this well-ordered way. Rather than emphasizing test performance with your child, we encourage you to do the following:
- Focus on what your child is learning about,
- Focus on what your child is reading, and
- Focus on what your child is discussing in class with their friends and their teachers.
See our Family Handbooks for a more complete description of our philosophy of student evaluation.
DIBELS (or Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) is a series of tasks that scholars are asked to complete under the guidance of a teacher to assess their early reading abilities. It is administered one-on-one through an electronic platform called Amplify mCLASS. DIBELS is administered three times a year to all students in Kindergarten through Second Grade, during the time when it is most crucial for students’ reading fluency to be progressing. Beginning in 3rd Grade, DIBELS is administered on an as-needed basis. DIBELS provides vital information to our teachers in identifying students who may need extra supports to grow in their reading as well as what kinds of supports will be most helpful.
MAP (or Measure of Academic Progress) Growth is an adaptive reading and math assessment given three times a year to all scholars in Grades 2nd through 9th. MAP results are used to identify areas in which a student might need targeted academic interventions.
TELPAS (or Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System) is administered every spring to English Language Learners to monitor their learning and design new strategies for the following year. TELPAS measures the four domains of language use: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Ratings in each of these areas provide helpful information for English Learners’ teachers as we work to help them grow in their mastery of English in an academic setting. Visit greatheartsirving.org/esl for more information on our ESL program.
STAAR (or State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness) is a program of State -mandated standardized testing. Each year, the State of Texas administers STAAR in all public schools statewide, including open enrollment charter schools like Great Hearts Irving.
At Great Hearts Irving we believe our students’ growth is best measured holistically by teachers in the classroom and that STAAR scores could never be a measure of the dignity and humanity of our curriculum and culture as a classical school. Nevertheless, STAAR is a meaningful instrument of measuring student progress in certain academic areas and one component used to form an overall picture of our students’ academic achievement.
In the Lower School, all 3rd, 4th and 5th graders take a Math test and a Reading test annually. 5th Grade scholars also take a Science test. In the 2021-2022 school year, the Grades 3, 4, and 5 Math STAAR will be administered on Tuesday, May 10, 2022; the Grade 3, 4, and 5 Reading STAAR will be administered on Wednesday, May 11, 2022; the Grade 5 Science STAAR will be administered on Thursday, May 12, 2022. All testing will occur during our normal school day.
6th and 7th graders take a Math and a Reading STAAR. 8th grade students also take a Science and a Social Studies STAAR. 8th grade scholars taking Algebra I will take the Algebra I EOC test in place of the traditional 8th grade Math STAAR. An EOC is an End-of Course exam. Texas requires that all High School students pass five EOC tests in order to graduate: Algebra I, Biology, U.S. History, English I, and English II. EOC’s are offered in December and May. A student may take them as many times as needed to pass starting in their 9th grade year.
STAAR scores usually become available a few weeks after the administration of the tests. To access your child’s scores, visit texasassessment.gov. All parents of students who took a STAAR exam should have received an email from Great Hearts Texas’ District Testing Coordinator Michael Linville with their child’s unique access code. You can also look up your child’s access code by clicking this link and entering your child’s first name, Social Security or S-number, and birthdate.
If you did not receive your child’s unique access code or you have any issues accessing your child’s scores through texasassessment.gov, please reach out to Great Hearts Texas’ District Testing Coordinator Michael Linville at Michael.Linville@GreatHeartsTX.org.
The most recent STAAR scores for our school and other schools throughout Great Hearts Texas are available on our TEA Report Cards.
The most recent School Report Cards are always available on the TEA website.
House Bill 4545, passed in the 87th Regular Session of the Texas State Legislature, requires that public and charter school districts throughout Texas offer 30 hours of Accelerated Instruction per subject area for any student who receives a score of “Did Not Meet” on any subject of the STAAR test in Grades 3–8 or STAAR end-of-course (EOC) assessments (up to 120 hours of Accelerated Instruction). Visit greatheartsirving.org/acceleratedinstruction for details on how we will be meeting this requirement.