The Texas Education Agency has made changes to its assessment policies for the 2023-24 school year to comply with new laws passed by the Texas Legislature this year.
A new law provides a process for local school districts to provide a paper administration of STAAR to a student upon request of the parent, guardian, or teacher in the applicable subject area, for up to 3% of the number of eligible students enrolled in the district who are administered each assessment.
School districts have the flexibility to implement this new optional process and gather paper administration requests as appropriate for their school. The parent, guardian, or teacher must submit the request for a paper administration of STAAR to the school district no later than Sept. 15 for December administrations and no later than December 1 for spring administrations each year.
The number of students who receive a paper by request administration is separate and distinct from the students who are eligible for a special paper administration of STAAR. Districts will continue the same process as last year for any student who is eligible for a special paper administration of STAAR because the student needs a testing accommodation that is not possible in an online setting. These students are not counted in the maximum 3% of students who are administered a paper administration of STAAR due to parent or teacher request.
According to TEA, based on feedback from educators, parents, and students, as well as other changes to the Texas Assessment Program, TEA is implementing a maximum allowable testing time of seven hours for STAAR and Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) assessments.
Most students are expected to complete each STAAR and TELPAS assessment in about three hours. Students who are still testing after four hours should be consolidated into a general testing area to continue testing. Students must complete the assessment within the same school day, and no test session may exceed seven hours. Exceptions exist for students who have an approved accommodation for an extra day.
Although Texas has successfully submitted a waiver to the U.S. Department of Education to exceed the 1% statewide limit for the past five years, except for spring 2020 when tests were cancelled due to COVID, this year's request was denied.
When TEA submitted a waiver request for the number of students statewide who can be assessed with STAAR Alternate 2 for the 2022-23 school year, the USDE denied the request in March 2023. As a result, TEA has updated the STAAR Alternate 2 Participation Requirements for the 2023-24 school year, which are available on the STAAR Alternate 2 Resources webpage.
For more information about all these changes, click here.