House Bill 3, passed by the 81st Texas Legislature, required the development of a new state assessment program. The result of that legislation is the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) program.
STAAR is a more rigorous assessment program that will provide the foundation for a new accountability system for Texas public education. The following information is based on current legislation.
Beginning in spring 2012, STAAR will replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). The STAAR program at grades 3–8 will assess the same subjects and grades that are currently assessed on TAKS.
At high school, however, grade-specific assessments will be replaced with 12 end-of-course (EOC) assessments: Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, English II, English III, world geography, world history, and U.S. history.
With the new testing program, current test administration policies have been reevaluated and modified to ensure that they fit the new structure and purpose of the STAAR program. The following information provides updates to current policies and is intended to assist in preparations for the spring 2012 STAAR administrations:
Time Limits—TEA will establish a four-hour time limit for both the STAAR EOC assessments and the STAAR grades 3–8 assessments for the 2012 spring test administration. A four-hour time limit should provide sufficient time for the majority of students to complete the test. At the high school level, the four-hour time limit will not preclude campuses from having two testing sessions within a given day. If two sessions are desired, early start times can be offered, sessions can overlap, or test sessions can extend beyond the typical school day. The agency will review the four-hour time limit for STAAR after the spring 2012 administration to determine if the policy needs to be reconsidered or adjusted.
Make-up Testing—Current plans for the STAAR program include offering make-up testing opportunities for all grades and subjects. Make-ups are planned for assessments given during all administrations, including summer administrations. Please note that the decision to allow make-up administrations in summer 2012 is different than what is currently indicated on the state testing calendar.
Dictionaries and Calculators—The STAAR program has new policies for dictionary and calculator use based on the new curriculum requirements. Dictionaries must be made available to all students taking STAAR reading assessments at grades 6–8; STAAR writing assessments at grade 7; and STAAR English I, II, and III assessments (including STAAR Modified and STAAR L). Calculators must be available to all students taking STAAR Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, chemistry, physics, and biology assessments (including STAAR Modified and STAAR L). Detailed information on the use of dictionaries and calculators can be found at http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/taa/studassmt042511.html.
Embedded Reference Materials—Reference materials (e.g., formula charts) for STAAR math and science assessments and graph paper for the STAAR math assessments will be included in test booklets. These materials will be printed on perforated pages so that students can remove them and use them during the test administration.
Grade 3 Answer Documents—Students taking STAAR grade 3 reading and math assessments will now record their responses on a separate answer document. Grade 3 students will no longer record their answers to test items in a scorable test booklet.
Dyslexia Accommodations—Current dyslexia accommodations for the TAKS program are limited to grades 3–8. However, for the STAAR program, TEA is expanding these testing policies to include high school students with dyslexia and other similar reading disabilities. Students will be allowed to take the STAAR English I, II, and III assessments as well as the grades 3–8 reading assessments with accommodations, such as the oral reading of item stems/answer options and extended time. These accommodations represent two of the three accommodations in the current dyslexia bundle. The only accommodation that will no longer be provided is the proper-nouns lists. More information about these accommodations as well as others that will be available to students will be provided in the future.
As TEA continues to work on the implementation of the new STAAR program, we are requesting information from those in the field to help guide STAAR decisions. To participate in the STAAR survey, go to http://www.texasassessment.com/STAARsurvey.
Additional information about STAAR will be provided as it becomes available. For more information and resources, go to the STAAR resources pages on the Student Assessment website at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/staar/.