Paper vs. Online Assessments: A Study of Test-Taking Strategies for STAAR Reading Tests



STAAR, Online Assessment, Test taking strategies


Schools around the nation are increasingly offering online testing options. House Bill (HB) 3906, passed by the 86th Texas Legislature in 2019, resulted in the STAAR redesign, which will be administered in the 2022–2023 school year. The STAAR redesign includes several components including an online test administration for the STAAR. With the change to an online platform comes many concerns related to student familiarity with an online testing platform. The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify and compare the test taking strategies that teachers in grades three through eight teach in preparation for the paper/online versions of the reading STAAR test. A group of Texas teachers participated in focus group sessions. The three primary themes reported in the findings include resources, which teachers suggested were needed to help them prepare students for an online assessment, platforms, which detailed the pros and cons of an online testing environment, and strategies, which support students as they read passages and answer test questions. Overall, the teachers found ways to transfer previously used strategies, such as pen and paper annotations, to online test administration. However, older students have an easier time with this transfer of skills than the younger students.


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