|State’s new standardized STAAR tests tougher, longer
|This March students in third through ninth grades throughout Texas will take the new State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, which encompasses a variety of changes, compared to previous tests, including the level of rigor and the way the test is administered.
STAAR testing is replacing 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.
According to the Texas Education Agency, this rigorous program will focus on academic growth and college readiness.
The most significant changes in the move to STAAR are an increase of rigor of both the assessments and the performance standards for all grades, subjects and courses in comparison to previous standardized testing.
Elementary and middle school students will be tested in the same subjects they previously tested under the TAKS test. However, at the high school level, 12 end-of-course assessments will replace the standard grade-specific tests.
Students who entered the ninth grade in the 2011-2012 school year will be the first to take the 12 end-of-course assessments. All other students currently enrolled in high school will continue to take the TAKS test until graduation.
In Grades 3-8, students will test in reading and mathematics each year. In Grades 4 and 7, students will test in writing. In Grades 5 and 8, students will test in science. Finally in Grade 8, students will test in social studies.
Under the new STAAR tests, students will be subjected to a time limit of four hours unless the student is eligible for an accommodation.
Campuses and districts will no longer be rated Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable or Unacceptable. With the STAAR, all will be rated either Acceptable or Unacceptable.