UPDATED: Friday, January 18, 2013 - 11:27am
LORENA -- It's been a year of preparation as the never before seen STAAR test hits students desks once again Thursday.
But an online curriculum management system called CSCOPE that began in 2006, is helping take the guess work out of what to teach to meet the new state requirements.
"I think the biggest benefit of CSCOPE is providing the specifics in the curriculum. [The state] didn't tell us very often to what level students were to develop a skill, and now [CSCOPE] tells us very specifically that information," Cheri Borchardt, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Lorena ISD and former teacher said.
CSCOPE gives teachers the framework of what to teach, when to teach it and how long to work on the subject. And while all students learn differently and at varied speeds, Borchardt says teachers are still able to individualize the lessons to meet the students needs.
"The beauty of CSCOPE is that the teacher's not taken out of the loop. teachers know best what their students need and so we leave it to their discretion to choose lessons and materials that are most appropriate to meet each students needs in the class."
"We are not bound to it by any means, but because there's such good things in the lessons, that we really think it's been a great tool for us to use and to pull from," Lorena 3rd grade teacher, Laura Cresson said.
Students take assessments throughout each 6 week time period. Which Cresson says has prepared them for the STAAR tests this year.
"We found that the assessments were our best tool this year for finding something that looked most like STAAR," Borchardt said.
"They really have prepared our kids for the STAAR test. The questions are high level, they have to think critically and problem solve," Cresson said.
The system gives teachers a "Year at a Glance" schedule that has subjects to follow each day to ensure all TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) are covered. So staying on the course isn't always easy.
"The time frame's hard, but it kind of keeps on track as well, we cover more material that way," Cresson said.
So far, it's effective.
"I really didn't think it would be that hard, because it's like what we practiced for," 3rd grader, Ava Sanders said.