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STAAR FAQ

STAAR to replace TAKS for Class of 2015 and beyond
New state assessment goes into effect for the 2011-12 school year 

STAAR Q&A

1. What is STAAR?

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) is the new state assessment for students in grades 3-12. It replaced the previous state assessment, Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).

2. How is the STAAR different from TAKS?

STAAR is more rigorous as it is aligned to College and Career Readiness Standards as well as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. The majority of the new STAAR assessments will test content students studied that school year, as opposed to testing content studied over multiple years. Doing so will strengthen the alignment between what is taught and what is tested for a given course of study. 

In grades 9-12, students will take 12 STAAR End of Course (EOC) tests throughout their years in high school. The high school STAAR EOC tests will focus solely on the curriculum covered in the tested course. In order to meet graduation requirements, students will be required to have satisfactory performance on all five assessments: English I, English II, Algebra I, Biology and U.S. history. 

3. When will students start taking the STAAR?

Most STAAR tests are taken in the spring semester. The new test was introduced in the 2011-12 school year for students graduating in 2015 and beyond. Students graduating before 2015 will continue to take TAKS to meet their graduation requirements.

4. What are the tests for grades 3-8?

•    Math and Reading (grades 3-8)
•    Writing (grades 4 and 7)
•    Science (grades 5 and 8)
•    Social Studies (grade 8)

5. What are the tests for grades 9-12?

HB5 states students must meet satisfactory performance on the following five exams to meet graduation requirements.
•    Algebra I
•    Biology
•    English I
•    English II
•    English III
•    U.S. History

Some students have taken other state mandated EOC exams before the Texas Legislature passed HB5 (i.e. geometry, world geography). Only the five EOC exams listed above are required for graduation, therefor seven other subject-specific EOC exams previously mandated will no longer be administered.

6. How will the STAAR score affect my child’s grade?

The STAAR testing will not affect a student's grade. HB5 eliminated the requirement that the STAAR EOC score account for 15 percent of a student’s final grade in the course. The STAAR end-of-course cumulative score component was also eliminated. 

7. What are the performance levels on STAAR?

The state has established three performance levels: 

a.    minimum
b.    satisfactory
c.    advanced academic performance

8. When will the performance cut scores be announced?

STAAR EOC performance levels were set in February 2012. Students, families and campuses are notified of their testing results in late spring. 

9. What is required in grades 3-8 in order to advance to the next grade?

Students in grades 5 and 8 must perform satisfactorily on reading and math in order to be promoted to the next grade.

10. What is required for graduation?

To receive a diploma and to participate in graduation ceremonies, the student must:

•    Complete one of the Highland Park High School Graduation programs.
•    Complete at least 50 hours of community service.
•    Meet passing requirements on the State of Texas Assessments (see table)

Graduating Class

State Testing Requirements

2011-14

Pass all sections of exit-level TAKS

2015 and beyond

Meet minimum requirements on all five STAAR EOC exams

ELA

Math

Science

Social Studies

English I

English II

 

Algebra I

Biology

U.S. History


11. Do the testing requirements differ according to the graduation plan?

No. 

12. When will the state’s requirements regarding graduation go into effect? 

The Class of 2015 will be the first class to undergo EOC testing, and therefore, the first class required to fulfill the state’s new graduation requirements. Students graduating before 2015 will continue to take TAKS. 

13. Will students be allowed to retake STAAR tests? 

Yes. Students at the high school level will be able to retake any of the STAAR assessments. Students in grades 5 and 8 will be able to re-test in reading and math in order to meet their promotion criteria.

14. How will the state modify STAAR for students with special needs? 

Testing accommodations will be made as needed according to each student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).

As with current modified assessments, the STAAR Modified assessment will cover the same content area for grades 3-8 and for five STAAR EOC assessments, but will be modified in format and test design.

The STAAR Alternate assessments are very similar to the previous TAKS-Alt assessments. Students will continue to perform tasks linked to the appropriate grade-level TEKS. At the high school level, assessments will move from grade-level assessments to course-based assessments.

15. How will the state modify STAAR for English Languages Learners (ELL)? 

ELL students will continue to take the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS). There are plans to adjust items on TELPAS to align more closely with the rigor of the STAAR assessments.

16. Will STAAR replace AP exams? 

No. Currently students taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses will be required to take both STAAR EOC and AP exams. AP exams are national exams tied to Advanced Placement courses. STAAR is tied to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, and under new state law, passage is required for graduation. TEA and the Commissioner of Education are investigating the criteria and procedures for alternative college-readiness exams (such as AP, SAT, ACT) to substitute for EOC testing. However, at this time, there is not plan for substitution of EOC exams in place.

17. Has TEA finalized the details regarding STAAR? 

No. As of this date of publication, the TEA is still developing policies and regulations with respect to STAAR and its implementation to HB5 guidelines. For example, final decisions have not been made regarding: 

•    How to combine the previously separate English I and English II reading and writing exams into one, four-hour exam.
•    Ways in which a student may satisfy equivalent EOC test requirements with AP, IB, SAT, SAT subject test or ACT tests.

To review what the state has posted regarding STAAR, click here.

18. May I request that my student opt out of the state-mandated tests?


Chapter 26 (26.010) of the Texas Education Code provides a parental right for “exemption from instruction,” referring to the temporary removal from a class or school activity that conflicts with the parent’s religious or moral beliefs.

The Education Code also states that “a parent is not entitled to remove the parent’s child from a class or school activity to avoid a test…” It also specifically states that the section “does not exempt a child from satisfying grade level or graduation requirements in a manner acceptable to the school district and the agency.”

Although there are parent groups and web sites that advocate for opting out, the language in the Education Code appears to prohibit such a practice because state-mandated tests are directly tied to grade-level and graduation requirements.



If you have questions regarding STAAR, please contact the following campus and district contacts:

•    Armstrong Elementary Counselor Barbara Clinton, clintob@hpisd.org
•    Bradfield Elementary Counselor Lana Raley, raleyl@hpisd.org
•    Hyer Elementary Counselor Linde Thompson, thompsl@hpisd.org
•    UP Elementary Counselor Billie Kissinger, kissinb@hpisd.org
•    MIS & HPMS Principal Laurie Hitzelberger, hitzell@hpisd.org or Assistant Principal Georgie Swize,swizeg@hpisd.org
•    HPHS Assistant Principal Marta Gott, gottm@hpisd.org or Lead Counselor Micah Lyles, lylesm@hpisd.org
•    HPISD Assessment Director Denise Beutel, beuteld@hpisd.org


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Last updated July 23, 2013