Math Sessions

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

ESTAR/MSTAR Algebra Ready Universal Screeners

Elementary School Students in Texas: Algebra Ready (ESTAR) and Middle School Students in Texas: Algebra Ready (MSTAR) Universal Screeners and Diagnostic Assessments

As the new school year approaches, please note the availability of ESTAR (grades 2–4) and MSTAR (grades 5–8) Universal Screeners (US) and Diagnostic Assessments (DA) and plan to use these valuable tools to support math planning and instruction.

Over the summer, the ESTAR/MSTAR system underwent a number of enhancements designed to improve user experience.

District admins can now
  • add new schools;
  • modify existing campuses and classrooms;
  • add new classrooms;
  • modify existing admin, teacher, and student accounts; and
  • temporarily reset student, teacher, and campus admin passwords.
Campus admins can now
  • add new classrooms;
  • modify existing class rosters;
  • modify existing teacher, and student accounts; and
  • temporarily reset student and teacher passwords.
While the fall administration window for the ESTAR/MSTAR US opened August 21st, it is recommended that campuses wait until rosters are set before administering the fall US. Campuses administering the US prior to September 1, 2017, will be considered part of a soft launch and may be asked to provide feedback regarding the enhancements. If your district wishes to complete screening prior to September 1, please contact the Texas Math Support Center helpdesk at

The ESTAR/MSTAR system can be accessed through the Texas Gateway at or directly at (note the new URL). Users will be able to access resources such as a user’s manual, upload templates, FAQ documents, etc. For questions and assistance, contact the helpdesk at

Monday, August 7, 2017


Teacher2Teacher Videos
Seventeen Teacher2Teacher videos are now available on the Texas Gateway. The topics range in grades from kindergarten to Algebra I and include fraction division, integer operations, addition and subtraction of a variety of numbers, percent increase/decrease (growth and decay), solving equations, and multiple representations of equations. These videos demonstrate a transition from various strategies to the standard algorithm and include vertical alignment discussions. You can access the videos at

OpenStax Open-Source Instructional Materials
OpenStax (Rice University) open-source instructional materials are available at The products are organized into units and chapters and can be used like traditional textbooks as the entire syllabus for a course.
OpenStax open-source instructional materials will be fully available in September. For assistance in locating sample materials, contact the Instructional Materials Division at (512) 463-9601 or

Study Edge Open-Source Instructional Materials
Study Edge open-source instructional materials are available on the Texas Gateway. Materials are available for Precalculus and Statistics as well as Chemistry and Physics. The products created by Study Edge are delivered in short videos with master teachers presenting the material. The videos can be used to teach an entire course or as supplemental material to help students be more successful in these challenging courses.
For more information about Study Edge open-source materials available through TEA, visit For additional assistance, contact the Instructional Materials Division at (512) 463-9601 or

Grade 6 OnTRACK Lessons
Two OnTRACK lessons for grade 6 have been added to the Texas Gateway. Each is filled with instruction and interactives designed to assist students is sixth grade mathematics. Additional lessons are in development.
Applying the Order of Operations:
Generating Equivalent Forms of Rational Numbers:

ESTAR/MSTAR Assessment Windows for 2017–2018 School Year
The purpose of the ESTAR/MSTAR Universal Screeners is to determine if a student is at-risk for algebra readiness. The content in these screeners does not cover all the TEKS for the grade levels. The results should be used to guide instruction for whole class and interventions where appropriate. The Diagnostic Assessments can then be used to find specific areas of needs for the students who are identified as “at-risk” for algebra readiness by the Universal Screener. These tools can be accessed on the Texas Gateway at

The ESTAR/MSTAR Universal Screeners, Diagnostic Assessments, and professional development courses are available at no cost to all Texas public school districts. For account creation assistance, contact

Universal Screener         
Fall                August 21, 2017 – October 13, 2017
Winter           January 8, 2018 – February 9, 2018
Spring           April 23, 2018 – May 18, 2018

Diagnostic Assessments      
Fall                August 28, 2017 – October 20, 2017
Winter           January 15, 2018 – February 16, 2018
Spring           April 30, 2018 – May 25, 2018

ESTAR/MSTAR Professional Development

Teachers are encouraged to complete the appropriate online professional development courses when using the ESTAR/MSTAR Universal Screeners and Diagnostic Assessments. The following online courses are available on the Texas Math Support Center (


MATHCOUNTS is a national middle school coaching and competitive mathematics program that promotes mathematics achievement through a series of fun and engaging “bee” style contests.

In the 2017 competition, a team of four students from Euless, Missouri City and Austin took first prize including the top two individual scores. Congratulations to the whole team, their coach, parents/guardians, and teachers. For more information, please visit


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High School Mathematics Course Sequence
The required course sequence in Texas Education Code §28.025(b-2) for advanced English and mathematics courses was eliminated by Senate Bill 826. The change applies beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. This change does not impact the prerequisites listed for high school mathematics courses. Prerequisites listed for courses are part of the TEKS, which are located in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC).

Please note that there is a distinction between prerequisites and course sequencing requirements. A sequencing requirement is a requirement that a student cannot enroll in a course until the student has successfully completed the previous course(s). Prerequisites identify the knowledge and skills that a student must have in order to be successful in a particular course. The State Board of Education has adopted rules that clarify prerequisites in TAC §74.11(j) and (k). Those rules establish circumstances under which a student can meet prerequisites. These rules are available online at