Friday, September 20, 2013

ESTAR & MSTAR Assessments - Professional Development

By Savannah Hill, RME Professional Development Coordinator

Today, I want to spend some time talking about some of the professional development opportunities available with the Texas Algebra Ready Initiative. We have spent time before talking about the assessments that are available, but briefly, currently available is the ESTAR and MSTAR Universal Screeners (grades 2-4 and 5-8), coming in January will be the MSTAR Diagnostic Assessments (grades 5-8), followed by the ESTAR Diagnostic Assessments (grades 2-4) next year.

But in order to correctly implement those assessments and interpret the reports given, there is a learning process. Many teachers may not know that professional development is available. It is essential that teachers understand why and how to use the Universal Screener and the MSTAR Diagnostic Assessment and how it can support a Response to Intervention approach. Here is some of the available courses that teachers should take before giving an ESTAR or MSTAR assessment.

ESTAR and MSTAR Universal Screeners: The ESTAR and MSTAR Universal Screener is a formative assessment system administered to students in grades 5-8 to help teachers determine if students are on-track or at-risk for meeting curricular expectations in algebra and algebra-readiness. Currently, a course is available to prepare teachers to administer the ESTAR and MSTAR Universal Screener - Overview of the Universal Screeners. Training on the use of the Universal Screener is available through Project Share. An updated version (v4.0) will be released soon.

MSTAR Diagnostic Assessments (grades 5-8): This assessment, designed to follow the MSTAR Universal Screener, is administered to those students identified as at-risk on the Universal Screener. The Diagnostic Assessment will help identify WHY students are struggling with algebra-related core content, and provide information that can be used to plan supplemental instruction. Two courses will be available: MSTAR Learning Progressions and Overview of the MSTAR Diagnostic Assessments. Information on how to access these courses, which will provide suggestions on how to prepare for administration of the MSTAR Diagnostic Assessments and guidance on how to interpret results following administration, will be made available through various list-servs and Project Share Groups over the coming weeks.

All courses are online and can done individually. PLCs could also use time to review the material from the courses and review for remediation. For more information, contact your local Educational Service Center or visit

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