The current state student assessment system, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, began in 2011-12.
The STAAR system annually tests students in grades 3-8. High school students must pass Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology and U.S. History end-of-course exams to graduate.
Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, all STAAR assessments must be administered electronically, unless otherwise provided by commissioner rule.
Individual graduation committees must be established for students in 11th or 12th grade who have failed up to two of the EOCs. The committee determines whether a student can graduate despite failing the exams.
A student who fails the Algebra I or English II EOC but receives a proficient score on the Texas Success Initiative Assessment in the corresponding subject satisfies the EOC passage requirements.
Assessments for grades 3-8 may not have more than three parts. Each part must be designed so that, in grades 3 and 4, 85% of students will be able to complete that part within 60 minutes; and in grades 5-8, 85% of students will be able to complete that part within 75 minutes. The time allowed for the test may not exceed eight hours and may occur in multiple parts over more than one day.
These requirements do not apply if, as determined by commissioner-appointed assessment advisory committees, the assessment would no longer comply with federal law or be valid and reliable. These requirements also do not apply to a classroom portfolio method of assessing writing.
The Algebra I EOC must allow the use of technology (e.g., a calculator) but may include one or more parts that prohibit the use of technology. EOCs can be administered in multiple parts over more than one day.
The testing schedule for STAAR cannot include a test administration on the first instructional day of a week, although districts/charters can request to administer an assessment on the first instructional day of the week if using a different day would result in a significant administrative burden due to specific local conditions.
Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, not more than 75% of the available points on an assessment instrument may be attributable to questions presented in a multiple-choice format.
Grades 3-8 assessments
Grade 3 Reading Language Arts, Math
Grade 4 Reading Language Arts, Math
Grade 5 Reading Language Arts, Math, Science
Grade 6 Reading Language Arts, Math
Grade 7 Reading Language Arts, Math
Grade 8 Reading Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies
Grades 9-12 end-of-course assessments
State law provides that parents are not entitled to remove their child from a class or other school activity to avoid a test. Normally, TEA requires that students who are in attendance on the day of testing and choose not to participate or refuse to mark their answers, and who are in grades 3-8 or are taking an EOC for the first time, will have their tests submitted for scoring as is (meaning they will be recorded as failing the test).
Field tests: Separate field testing of existing tests can be conducted no more than once every other year. TEA must notify each school district before the beginning of the school year of any required participation in field testing.
Benchmark tests: Districts are prohibited from administering more than two benchmark tests per state assessment, excluding administration of college prep assessments such as the PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP exams, etc. A parent can request additional benchmark tests. Districts also are prohibited from administering any locally required test designed to prepare students for state-administered tests on more than 10% of instructional days; campus site-based decision-making committees may approve an even lower percentage of days.
Test administration: State law provides that the statewide assessment program must be designed to minimize disruption to the educational program. Additionally, assessment procedures must minimize disruptions to school operations and the classroom environment.
Limits on removal from class: School districts are required to adopt policies that limit removal of students from class for remedial tutoring or test preparation for more than 10% of the school days on which the class is offered, unless the parent gives written consent.
As required by law, TEA developed a vertical scale for assessing student performance on the English STAAR for reading and math in grades 3-8 and Spanish STAAR for reading and math in grades 3-6.
TEA is required to determine the annual improvement necessary for a student to be prepared to perform satisfactorily on grades 5 and 8 state assessments as well as the high school EOC exams required for graduation.
A school district is required to prepare a report of the comparisons made under the measure of annual improvement and provide it to teachers at the beginning of the school year for incoming students (a TCTA suggestion) as well as for students from the prior school year.
TEA established a student assessment data portal for use by school districts, teachers, parents, students and public institutions of higher education at www.texasassessment.gov.
STAAR Alternate: This test is designed to assess students in grades 3-8 and high school receiving special education services who have significant cognitive disabilities. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act puts a 1% cap at the state level on the number of students who can be assessed in this manner. However, Texas has received a waiver from this cap for the past several years.
A student may be promoted only on the basis of academic achievement or demonstrated proficiency of the subject matter of the course or grade level. In determining promotion, a school district must consider the recommendation of the student’s teacher, the student’s grade in each subject or course, the student’s score on the STAAR in grades 3-8, to the extent applicable, and any other necessary academic information, as determined by the district.
A district must make the requirements for student advancement public by the start of the school year.
School districts must establish an accelerated learning committee for each student in grade 3 who fails the STAAR reading test, for each student in grade 5 who fails the STAAR math and/or reading tests, and for each student in grade 8 who fails the STAAR math and/or reading tests. The committee includes the principal or designee, the student’s parent or guardian, and the teacher of the subject of the failed STAAR test. In the case of a special education student, the accelerated learning committee is the admission, review and dismissal committee.
The accelerated learning committee must, by the start of the subsequent school year, develop an educational plan for the student that provides the necessary accelerated instruction to enable the student to perform at the appropriate grade level by the conclusion of the school year.
In the subsequent school year, a student who fails any of the above-listed STAAR tests and is promoted to the next grade level must be assigned to an appropriately certified teacher who meets all state and federal qualifications to teach that subject and grade, unless, on request of the school district, the commissioner waives the requirement.
If a student fails to perform satisfactorily on an assessment instrument in the same subject during the subsequent school year, the superintendent/designee of the district must meet with the student’s accelerated learning committee to identify the reason the student did not perform satisfactorily. The committee also must determine whether the educational plan developed for the student should be modified to provide the necessary accelerated instruction for that student and whether any additional resources are required for that student.
Each time a student fails a STAAR test in grades 3-8 or a STAAR end-of-course exam in high school, the district must provide the student with accelerated instruction in the applicable subject area during the subsequent summer or school year and assign the student to a classroom teacher who is certified as a master, exemplary, or recognized teacher under a locally approved teacher designation system or holds National Board Certification for the subsequent school year in the applicable subject area; or provide the student supplemental instruction.
Accelerated instruction provided during the following school year may require participation before or after normal school hours, and for high schoolers, outside of the normal school year. In providing accelerated instruction, a district cannot remove a student, except under circumstances for which a student enrolled in the same grade level who is not receiving accelerated instruction would be removed, from instruction in the foundation curriculum and enrichment curriculum, or from recess or other physical activity that is available to other students enrolled in the same grade level.
For districts receiving certain federal pandemic relief funds, supplemental instruction must, among other things:
Each school district must establish a process allowing for the parent or guardian of a student who fails to perform satisfactorily to request that the student be assigned to a particular classroom teacher in the applicable subject area for the subsequent school year, if more than one classroom teacher is available.
TEA must notify districts and campuses of test results no later than the 21st day after the administration date. The school district must disclose to each teacher the test results of the students that teacher taught.
On or before Sept. 1 each year, the commissioner must make available on the TEA website the number of questions on the assessment instrument, the number of questions that must be answered correctly to achieve satisfactory performance, the number of questions that must be answered correctly to achieve satisfactory performance under the college readiness performance standard, and the corresponding scale scores for each of the state assessments.
Tests must be released every three years. TEA can defer releases to the extent necessary to develop additional tests.
It is a class C misdemeanor to intentionally disclose any portion of a test that is likely to affect the individual performance of one or more students on the assessment.
UIL competitions may not be scheduled on Monday through Thursday, or the last testing day, of the primary STAAR assessment week. This provision does not apply to retesting.
The commissioner must adopt or develop optional electronic interim assessment instruments for each subject and for each grade level subject to assessment under the state assessment system; such assessments must be predictive of the applicable state assessment for that subject/grade level and may not be used for accountability purposes.