Tips & Resources
March 19, 2024

Back in the Saddle: Year two of Texas school ‘partying’ for STAAR prep

Here’s what they do, and why district leaders say it works!

Music booms, balloons fly, students shout rehearsed chants in team t-shirts, and teachers dance and cheer. 

Nope, it’s not a pep rally. It’s Friday morning test prep at Anson Elementary School. And unlike exam review in most districts across the country, AES students actually enjoy it. 

Better yet, it really works.

Building on the successful rollout of this process last year, which resulted in “significant” growth of an entire letter grade*, AES started the 2024 STAAR prep season ready to tackle their next challenge—the House Party Challenge.

Fresh Updates: How a Quizizz X Canva app-smash sparks test prep engagement

After attending TCEA in 2024, Anson ISD’s Digital Coach Amber Jobe was inspired to makeover last year’s House Party Challenge materials. 

For the ‘24 testing season, Jobe created interactive Canva templates. The colorful, hyperlinked graphics offer teachers a cool new way to organize and display content, and increase student engagement.

Click here to access your own copy of this Canva Template by Amber Jobe

See a few sample Quizzes that AES teachers created for the '24 House Party Challenge: 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade

Another new House Party Challenge update includes a weekly hype video, which features teachers and administrators who break down each team's progress, host a live contest, and motivate students.

No Need to Reinvent the Wheel: AES maintained most of last year’s plans

For those not familiar with AES’s first House Party Challenge, the competition structure remains roughly the same as 2023, as does the district’s priority to lower test anxiety

Download this Cheat Sheet to see how Quizizz question types directly align with STAAR.

Here are the easy-to-replicate (or modify) steps for how AES made it happen:

1. Planning Time

Teachers use Quizizz together to develop STAAR-aligned questions for the weekly common assessments.

2. Collaboration

Teams have their own name, shirt, chant, and spirit!

Starting in January, student teams are created to combine camaraderie with learning.

3. Low-Stakes, Common Assessment

In the cafeteria every Friday morning, the teams gather to take the Live Quiz in an exciting, heated competition.

4. Data to Inform Instruction

Teachers analyze Friday’s data and use it to plan What I Need (WIN) small group intervention sessions for the following week, which has become a strong strategy for students' gradual growth.

Beyond academic benefits, the House Party Challenge also helps uphold other school initiatives, like attendance. At the end of testing season, each team’s points are tallied and the winners earn a field trip.

Crunching Numbers: Here's why the House Party Challenge really succeeds

Few educators would say data tracking or test prep are their favorite parts of the school year, but by reimagining the process as a party, AES continues to reap rewarding results.

Based on a year-to-year comparison, students are growing in all subject areas.

“I really think the biggest change I've seen is shifting the mindset and the morale of the school,” Jobe said. “The kids and the teachers are excited, and we have the social-emotional piece that needs to be there for students to do well on STAAR. That’s more important than just the test.”

* Texas Education Agency still has not publicly released Spring 2023 scores at the time of publication.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Along with AES’s strategies, here are a few NEW ways Quizizz helps districts successfully prepare for state tests:

💜 Accommodations

✅ Question Types Aligned with State Tests and Standards

🤖 Quizizz AI

Looking to level up state test prep in your own district?
This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.
The best way to ask questions, explore ideas, and let students show what they know.

Start motivating students.In minutes.