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Tips For Helping Students As STAAR Testing Begins Across Texas

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Thousands of students across Texas will sharpen their pencils this week on put their skills to the test. Tuesday marks the first day of STAAR testing for many children in third grade through eighth grade. There is a lot of pressure on kids to take this standardized test and do well.

For students in fifth grade and eighth grade, a passing score is required for promotion.

Teachers in elementary and middle schools work all year to prepare students for the test, and want them to be confident. Plus, the teachers are evaluated based on how well their students perform.

Stephanie Elizalde, chief of school leadership with the Dallas Independent School District, said that it is a balance to meet the state's testing requirements while not becoming a testing factory. "You don't have to sacrifice one for the other. You can teach authentically," she said.

Elizalde explained that the district has modified how its students prepare since last year. The district noticed that kids tend to miss the last eight or so items on the test. So, the Dallas ISD has focused on endurance by practicing reading assignments that are longer than what appears on the STAAR exam.

Here are some tips for parents with children who will be taking the test this week:

• Students hopefully got a good night's sleep.

• Make sure that students eat a good breakfast that is packed with protein, nothing too high in sugar or carbs. McDonald's is offering a free breakfast to students and teachers on Tuesday, but only the healthier items like oatmeal and egg white sandwiches.

• Make sure that your child has everything that they will need, including a jacket and lunch. Some school districts will not allow any visitors on campus during testing -- even parents.

• Slip an encouraging note into your child's backpack or lunch.

• Get the kids to school earlier than normal in order to avoid any possible stress from running late.

The Texas Education Agency has released sample questions from last year's STAAR test, to give parents and students an idea of what kind of questions are to be expected across the various grade levels on Tuesday. Give them a shot, and see if you could pass the test.

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