State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR™)
In 2009, the 81st Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3, which required the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to increase the rigor of state assessments so that performance standards would clearly indicate students’ college readiness. STAAR will continue to test the content standards of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS); however, the new tests will assess the state curriculum at a greater level of depth and complexity than previously and emphasize the skills that are needed to be successful in the next grade level or course.
Overview of the State Assessment System (PDF)
Which subjects will be tested with STAAR?
At the elementary and middle school level, students will be tested at the same grade levels and in the same subject areas as they were on TAKS. All students in grades 3-8 will take a STAAR assessment in reading and mathematics each year, students in grades 4 and 7 will be tested in writing, students in grades 5 and 8 will be tested in science, and students in grade 8 will be tested in social studies.
Beginning in the spring of 2012, high school students will no longer take grade level assessments. Instead, they will take end-of-course (EOC) exams according to the classes in which they are enrolled. Middle school students who are enrolled in high school courses will also be required to take the EOC tests.
The 12 EOC assessments are listed in the table below:
How is STAAR different from TAKS?
The most significant difference between the two tests is that the STAAR assessments are designed to be more rigorous and to provide information about student readiness for the next grade level or course, and ultimately for college and career. In order to demonstrate how the state assessments have increased in rigor over time, please see the attachment prepared by Region XIII. This document provides examples of actual test questions from exit-level math tests the state has used over the last 30 years. STAAR Example Test Questions [PDF]
Student performance categories on TAKS included Did Not Meet Standard, Met Standard, and Commended levels. The STAAR performance levels will be as follows:
|Level III: Advanced Academic Performance
||Performance in this category indicates that students are well prepared for the next grade or course. They demonstrate the ability to think critically and apply the assessed knowledge and skills in varied contexts, both familiar and unfamiliar. Students in this category have a high likelihood of success in the next grade or course with little or no academic intervention. |
*For Algebra II and English III, this level of performance also indicates students’ postsecondary readiness
|Level II: Satisfactory Academic Performance
||Performance in this category indicates that students are sufficiently prepared for the next grade or course. They generally demonstrate the ability to think critically and apply the assessed knowledge and skills in familiar contexts. Students in this category have a reasonable likelihood of success in the next grade or course but may need short-term, targeted academic intervention.|
|Level I: Unsatisfactory Academic Performance
||Performance in this category indicates that students are inadequately prepared for the next grade or course. They do not demonstrate a sufficient understanding of the assessed knowledge and skills. Students in this category are unlikely to succeed in the next grade or course without significant, ongoing academic intervention.|
Source. Texas Education Agency: Performance Labels and Policy Definitions for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR™)
Other changes include the introduction of a four-hour testing time limit, the addition of open-ended (griddable) response options on math and science tests, and the option to administer end-of-course exams online.
Although passing TAKS was required to be promoted to certain grade levels and to graduate from high school, the implementation of STAAR will be the first time that performance on state assessments will affect students' course grades. Beginning in 2013, EOC exam scores must account for 15% of students' grades in the corresponding courses.
Are there STAAR tests for special populations?
TEA has developed STAAR Modified and STAAR Alternate assessments for Special Education students in grades 3-8 and for EOC exams for the nine high school courses that are required for graduation on minimum plan. There will be no EOC Modified or Alternate tests for Algebra II, chemistry, or physics.
TEA also has developed linguistically accommodated versions of the tests called STAAR L, which will be available to eligible students for all math, science, and social studies subject tests.
Where can I go for more information?