Preparing for TAKS
Middle and High School Mathematics
Ready or not-here we come…
General Overview on TAKS
• New assessment mandated by SB 103
• Exit level graduation requirement at Grade 11
• Exceeds the cognitive rigor of prior statewide
• Includes technology at the high school level
• These items are included at all levels.
• The majority of items on the test will remain
• These items allow students to work the
problem and find the solution, independent of
answer choice influences.
Things to Keep in Mind
• Students should be offered opportunities to
practice gridding answers.
• Leading zeroes are not required and will not be
scored as incorrect during electronic scoring.
• Gridding should match the current approach to
recording numbers used in the classroom.
Sample Grids–Secondary Level
• New shading for easier reading
• Two-sided—conversions and rulers on the
front, formulas on back
• Formulas represented in two ways
• Closely aligned with instructional materials
• Precision to the nearest eighth of an inch
• Precision to the nearest millimeter in metric
• Strong connection to measurement found in real-
• Identified by ―Use the ruler on the Mathematics
TAKS = TEKS Assessment
• Item alignment with state curriculum standards
• Alignment between grade level assessments
(difficulty level assumed)
Student expectation statements introduced at
one grade level and not assessed will most likely
be tested the following year.
(7.9) The student solves application problems
involving estimation and measurement. The
student is expected to:
(A) Estimate measurement and solve
application problems involving
length (including perimeter and
circumference), area, and volume.
1 Find the exact number of cubes measuring 3 centimeters on an edge that will fill a
box shaped like a rectangular prism that measures 24 centimeters by 18 centimeters
by 9 centimeters. Objective 4
G(b)(4) The student uses a variety of
representations to describe geometric
relationships and solve problems.
(A) The student selects an appropriate
representation ([concrete], pictorial,
graphical, verbal, or symbolic) in
order to solve problems.
Have been required in the TEKS for
mathematics instruction since 1997.
–All grade levels have this requirement.
• Calculators may only be used on the high
school TAKS tests.
• Each student must have a graphing calculator
during the entire administration of the
• Any graphing calculator may be used except
one with a typewriter-style keypad.
Contact the vendor for specific keystrokes and/or
This is a critical step because some applications
loaded on certain calculator models would give
students an unfair advantage over other
Students Using Calculators
• Have higher math achievement than non-
calculator users even when they can choose
any tool desired
• Do better on mental computation than non-
Students Using Calculators
• Experience more varied concepts and computations
• Have improved attitudes toward mathematics
• Do not become overly reliant on calculators
Source: EdThoughts, 2002
• Visualization of mathematical ideas
• Organization and analysis of data
• Computational efficiency and accuracy
Appropriate use of technology is
It’s about problem-solving, NOT keystrokes.
How to Prepare
• TEACH THE TEKS.
• Develop a variety of ways to explore each
• Stay away from ―test prep‖ materials
• Use technology often.
• Attend staff development in identified areas of
Critically reading and reflecting on TEKS
• With colleagues
• With students
• With parents
• Reviewing all TEKS statements
• Determining what mastery would ―look like‖
in the classroom
• Thinking about interventions that might be
used with struggling students
• At a minimum, study the TEKS statements
for the grade above and below your level.
• Use curriculum that ―matches‖ the intent of
• Involve challenging activities and lessons that
force students to think critically in order to solve
• Be rigorous and require students to apply
mathematical knowledge in meaningful ways
Motivate and involve all students, even those
struggling with the content, in difficult
mathematics problem solving on a daily basis. All
students should be required to communicate and
process mathematics from the conceptual to
Students are counting on you to help them meet the new
graduation requirements in mathematics.
Ten Practical Strategies for
Helping Our Students Beat the
Tests Through Better Instruction
Embed math in real world contexts that are rich and
engaging and lead to more math questions.
Incorporate on-going cumulative review into
Create a language-rich classroom.
Use every number as a chance to build
Draw pictures, create mental images, and
Build from charts, graphs, and tables.
Don’t leave out measurement.
Adapt strategies from what we know about
Minimize what is no longer important.
Create a thinking curriculum by asking questions.
The Assessment Principle
Six standards for exemplary mathematics assessment:
• Reflect the mathematics that students know and
are able to do
• Enhance mathematics learning
• Promote equity
• Create open processes
• Promote valid inference
• Create coherent processes
Conduct informal assessment often
• To determine students’ level of knowledge
• To individualize instruction
• To ―catch up‖ students struggling with
Conceptual Knowledge (WHAT)
• Classification and categories
• Principles and generalizations
• Theories, models, and structure
Procedural Knowledge (HOW)
• Subject-specific algorithms
• Subject-specific techniques and methods
• Criteria for determining when to use appropriate
• Clear, detailed, and organized analysis to justify
the solution using correct terminology and
• Presentation clearly displaying the thinking
• Effective communication to target audience
• Reflection on the concepts required, processes
used, and the results drawn to conclusions
Forms of Assessment
• State-developed diagnostic tests
• Performance Tasks
• Class work
• Group work
• Use resources that are aligned to TEKS.
• Be cautious of materials that claim to be
• Are TEA-developed resources that mirror
previous Educator Guides
• Include objectives and Student Expectation
statements assessed on TAKS
• Include additional information to clarify the
• Include sample items
For TAKS reference…
• Use Information Booklets, not Educator
Guides, to plan for the new assessment.
• Do not anticipate that items will reflect the
TAAS items—this is an entirely new
Dana Center Resources
• Clarifying activities, lessons, and assessments
• Staff development through TEXTEAMS
• Assessments for Algebra I and Geometry
• Links to other resources
• Much, much more
Texas Education Agency
TAKS Information Booklets
You are instrumental in changing paradigms of the
past and creating new tomorrows for your
• All students have ability in mathematics
• All students are mathematicians
• You are an educator who can prepare all
students for this difficult assessment
• Paula Gustafson/Barbara Montalto
TEA Curriculum and Professional Development
• Sue Borders/Julie Guthrie
TEA Student Assessment