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STAAR Frequently Asked Questions

 

State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR)

In 2009, the 81st Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3, which required the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to increase the rigor of state assessments so that performance standards would clearly indicate students’ college readiness. The new STAAR tests replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). STAAR will continue to test the content standards of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS); however, the new tests will assess the state curriculum at a greater level of depth and complexity than previously and emphasize the skills that are needed to be successful in the next grade level or course.

 

Which subjects will be tested with STAAR?

At grades 3–8, students will be tested in mathematics and reading. Students will also be tested in writing at grades 4 and 7, science at grades 5 and 8, and social studies at grade 8.

Beginning in the spring of 2012, high school students will no longer take grade level assessments. Instead, they will take end-of-course (EOC) exams according to the classes in which they are enrolled. Middle school students who are enrolled in high school courses will also be required to take the EOC tests.

The 12 EOC assessments are listed below:

English 

Math 

 Science

Social Studies 

English I

Algebra I

Biology

World Geography

English II

Geometry 

Chemistry 

World History

English III 

Algebra II 

Physics 

U.S. History 

 

How is STAAR different from TAKS?

The most significant difference between the two tests is that the STAAR assessments are designed to be more rigorous and to provide information about student readiness for the next grade level or course, and ultimately for college and career. Click below to see how the state assessments have increased in rigor over time. This document provides examples of actual test questions from exit-level math tests the state has used over the last 30 years.

The STAAR assessment program differs greatly from the previous Texas Assessment program (TAKS) assessment program. The most significant changes include:

• increasing the rigor of items by assessing skills at a greater depth and level of cognitive complexity.

• increasing the performance standards for all grades and subjects

• increasing the total number of test items for most grades and subjects.

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End-of-Course and GPA, Class Rank

The Eanes ISD Board of Trustees accepted recommendations on how the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course (EOC) assessments will affect students.  As part of the new law in Texas, students who entered 9th and 10th grade in 2012-13 or who are taking a high school core course (English, Science, Social Studies, Math) in middle school, will take 12 EOC assessments rather than TAKS exams as part of their graduation requirements. 

Districts are required by law to count these tests as 15% of a student’s final grade.  However, Eanes ISD has determined that while the EOC exam grade will count as 15% of the final grade and will appear on the transcript, it will not be counted in the calculation of the GPA (Grade Point Average) or Class Rank.  Neither state law, nor Texas Education Agency (TEA) guidance requires that the EOC exam grade be counted in GPA or Class Rank.

District administrators and board members are concerned about the many unknowns of the STAAR test and did not feel comfortable putting students’ academic records at risk. To date, the TEA has not released all of the information about the STAAR and how it is structured.

School administration discussed this issue with teachers and parents prior to making the final recommendation. Eanes ISD schools will continue to provide information to parents and students impacted by the policy.

 

Are there STAAR tests for special populations?

TEA has developed STAAR Modified and STAAR Alternate assessments for Special Education students in grades 3-8 and for EOC exams for the nine high school courses that are required for graduation on minimum plan. There will be no EOC Modified or Alternate tests for Algebra II, chemistry, or physics.

TEA has developed Spanish versions of all STAAR assessments for English language learners (ELLs) in grades 3-5. TEA also has developed linguistically accommodated versions of all tests, called STAAR L, which will be available in all grade levels and subject areas. 

 

Where can I go for more information?

More information is on the TEA website, including FAQ’s and sample questions.
http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/staar/