TEA announced a suite of new resources to support districts in the transition to online state summative assessments that will be implemented in the 2022-23 school year, including a Transition to Online Assessments Implementation Guide with criteria for a successful online implementation and next steps based on experiences from Texas public school systems that have already moved online. House Bill 3261, enacted by the 87th Texas Legislature in 2021, requires state assessments to be administered online by the 2022–23 school year. This transition will require nearly all students to be assessed online beginning in December 2022, with the exceptions of students taking the STAAR Alternate 2 assessment and students who require accommodations that cannot be provided online.
Among the criteria in the Transition to Online Assessments Implementation Guide are those related to supporting teachers in the transition, including:
TEA emphasized in its announcement that educators, students, and families have many opportunities to familiarize themselves with the STAAR online testing platform (TDS) via the following existing online assessments:
Monetary support for districts will be provided via an up-to-$4 million grant from TEA intended to help rural and small districts upgrade their network infrastructure to meet the recommended testing speeds. More information will be provided by early 2022.
Also included in TEA’s announcement was information related to the state summative assessment redesign, required by HB 3906, enacted by the 86th Texas Legislature in 2019. TEA noted that its STAAR Redesign web page was recently updated to include several other resources tied to the state summative assessment redesign:
According to TEA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), in the redesigned RLA assessment, the extended constructed response item, or essay question, will ask students to respond to a reading selection (in the past, the essay prompt was not connected to a reading selection), and will ask students to write in one of three possible modes: informational, argumentative, or correspondence (in the past, the only possible mode was informational).
Finally, TEA noted that a set of detailed resources about new non-multiple-choice questions, including examples, will be available in early 2022. Full practice tests that reflect the redesigned state assessment will be available in fall 2022, and students will see new item types on state summative tests beginning in spring 2023.