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STAAR TESTING RESOURCES

Background of STAAR for High School

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) replaced the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) starting in the 2011-2012 school year. New ninth-grade students entering high school in 2011-2012 and thereafter will fall under the STAAR testing system and graduation requirements. Students who entered high school prior to 2011-2012 remain under the TAKS system and their existing graduation requirements.

Under STAAR, first time high school freshmen in 2011-2012 and thereafter will be required to take 5 end-of-course (EOC) assessments in the foundation subject areas – math, science, English and social studies. These tests will include Algebra I, Biology, English I, English II, and U.S. History. (Please note: House Bill 5 of the 83rd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature was signed into law on
June 10, 2013. It reduced the number of EOC exams from 15 to 5 and eliminated both the cumulative score requirement and the 15 percent grading requirement.)

Please use the table of contents below to better familiarize yourself with this complex system and prepare your high school student(s) for academic success. Several videos have also been created to illustrate key information about STAAR.

STAAR transition timeline


Source: Texas Education Agency Student Assessment Division, December 2010

End of Course (EOC) exams

The STAAR end-of-course (EOC) tests focus on the content for a specific course compared to TAKS tests that covered general subject knowledge by grade level. STAAR includes 5 EOC assessments for the following subjects at the high school level: Algebra I, Biology, English I, English II, and U.S. History. (Please note: House Bill 5 of the 83rd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature was signed into law on June 10, 2013. It reduced the number of EOC exams from 15 to 5 and eliminated both the cumulative score requirement and the 15 percent grading requirement. Please visit the Graduation Requirements section below for more information about testing requirements pertaining to students who entered high school in 2011 and 2012.)

Students not enrolled in a class would not be required to take the EOC exam for that course. Students will initially take the STAAR tests listed above during the spring semester of enrollment in the class. For students who fail to reach Level II performance, numerous retesting opportunities will also be offered.

STAAR includes more difficult testing and requires a higher level of student performance than TAKS required. There is also a four-hour time limit for the Algebra I, Biology and U.S. History STAAR EOC assessments. The English I and II EOC assessments will have a five-hour time limit and Include multiple choice questions, short answer reading responses, and wirtten essays. Illustrations of the test design for the English I and II exams and scoring rubrics are available at www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/staar/.

The Algebra I EOC includes a type of open-ended question known as a griddable item. The purpose of griddable items is to allow students to develop answers independently without being influenced by answer choices provided with the questions (commonly known as multiple-choice). The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has provided further explanation about griddable items and reference materials for Algebra I at www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/staar/.

Performance Standards


For the general STAAR assessments and linguistically accommodated forms of STAAR, the labels for the performance categories are:

Level I: Unsatisfactory Academic Performance
Level II: Satisfactory Academic
Performance
Level III: Advanced 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.

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.

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 the STAAR Alternate assessments, the performance labels are:
  • Level III: Accomplished Academic Performance
  • Level II: Satisfactory Academic Performance
  • Level I: Unsatisfactory Academic Performance

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has established a phase-in approach for STAAR performance standards that will increase over time. On August 21, 2014, the Commissioner of Education informed districts that the initial academic performance standards, known as Phase-in 1, will continue for the 2014-2015 school year. Phase-in 1 has been used since STAAR was implemented to allow students and schools to adjust to the new testing system.

TEA plans to implement Phase-in 2 performance standards in the 2015-2016 school year, and Phase-in 3 performance standards will be implemented beginning in the 2018–2019 school year. The final recommended performance standards will be implemented in the 2021–2022 school year. Read the TEA press release on STAAR performance standards.

Currently, the performance standard needed to meet the testing requirement for graduation is based on the performance standard in place when students take their first EOC test and apply to all five EOC assessments. For example, for students who took STAAR Algebra I in spring 2013, the first phase-in standard for Level II: Satisfactory Performance would apply to Algebra I, STAAR English I, English II, biology, and U.S. history. (Read more about the Commissioner's proposed rules from August 2, 2013.)

Satisfactory Academic Performance on the EOCs will be considered passing. If a student does not reach Level II performance, the student will be automatically enrolled to retake the assessment.

Graduation Requirements

House Bill 5 (HB 5) of the 83rd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature was signed into law on June 10, 2013. HB 5 outlines the assessment and curriculum requirements for high school graduation. More information about these requirements follow, or you may watch a brief video located under the STAAR VIDEOS ON HIGH SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS section below.

Testing Requirements

HB 5 reduced the number of EOC exams from 15 to 5. Effective immediately for all students under STAAR, the state requires that students pass the English I, English II, Biology, Algebra I and U.S. History EOC exams. The English I and English II exams will combine reading and writing into a single test administration. HB 5 also eliminated both the cumulative score requirement and the 15 percent grading requirement, which were under previous law. These changes apply to all students, including those who are currently enrolled in high school courses.

When STAAR debuted, English EOC exams included separate reading and writing components. To comply with HB 5, TEA is in the process of combining the reading and writing tests into one EOC exam for English I and one exam EOC for English II. As of August 2, 2013, TEA has notified districts that students who took separate reading and writing exams for English I and English II prior to 2014 will be provided some flexibility in meeting their graduation requirements. "TEA is proposing to maintain the minimum – and cumulative – score concepts to determine whether students taking these assessments have met their English I and English II graduation requirements. These concepts would be applied within each course, not across courses, and would require students who took separate reading and writing assessments to meet three criteria:

- pass one assessment (either reading or writing);
- meet at least the minimum score on the other; and
- achieve a combined scale score of 3750 (the phase-in 1 standard), which represents the sum of the scale scores needed to reach Level II for reading (1875) and Level II for writing (1875).

These three criteria would apply only to the current STAAR English I and II reading and writing assessments administered prior to the roll-out of the redesigned (combined) English I and II assessments in spring 2014. Under this proposal, students who have not met this requirement by that time would need to take and pass the redesigned assessment(s) to meet their English EOC testing requirement for graduation." (Read more about the Commissioner's proposed rules from August 2, 2013.)

Curriculum Requirements

HB 5 also created a new graduation plan -- the Foundation High School Program -- for students who enter high school in 2014-2015. The Foundation High School program will eventually replace the minimum, recommended and distinguished programs. (Graduation requirements for students who entered high school before 2014-2015 can be found on the district's Guidance Department webpage.)

The Foundation High School Program provides options for endorsements, Distinguished Level of Achievement, and Performance Acknowledgements. The graphic below will allow you to navigate to each of these options by expanding the menu on the left side. The corresponding information for the item you choose will appear on the right.

More information about graduation requirements can be obtained through the high school counseling office, the district's Guidance Department webpage, or by reviewing the Graduation Toolkit created by the Texas Education Agency.

Frequently Asked Questions

I heard that high school students will only be required to take five End-of-Course (EOC) exams. How does this affect my student?

House Bill 5 (HB 5) of the 83rd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature changed high school testing and graduation requirements. It was signed into law by the governor on June 10, 2013. In particular, HB 5 reduced the number of EOC exams from 15 to five starting in the 2013-2014 school year. The five EOC exams will be English I, English II, Algebra I, Biology and U.S. History. According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), “The English I and English II tests will continue to have separate reading and writing tests for the July 2013 test administration and the December 2013 test administration. English I and English II assessments that combine reading and writing will be available beginning in spring 2014.” Current high school students will only need the required EOC exams mentioned above to graduate. Students who have not reached satisfactory performance on any of these EOC exams must retake the exam.

As of August 2, 2013, TEA has notified districts that students who took separate reading and writing exams for English I and/or English II prior to 2014 will be provided some flexibility in meeting their graduation requirements. "TEA is proposing to maintain the minimum – and cumulative – score concepts to determine whether students taking these assessments have met their English I and English II graduation requirements. These concepts would be applied within each course, not across courses, and would require students who took separate reading and writing assessments to meet three criteria:

- pass one assessment (either reading or writing);
- meet at least the minimum score on the other; and
- achieve a combined scale score of 3750 (the phase-in 1 standard), which represents the sum of the scale scores needed to reach Level II for reading (1875) and Level II for writing (1875).

These three criteria would apply only to the STAAR English I and II reading and writing assessments administered prior to the roll-out of the redesigned (combined) English I and II assessments in spring 2014. Under this proposal, students who have not met this requirement by that time would need to take and pass the redesigned assessment(s) to meet their English EOC testing requirement for graduation." (Read more about the Commissioner's proposed rules from August 2, 2013.)

The EOC exams for chemistry, physics, Algebra II, geometry, world history, world geography and English III are no longer required for graduation.

HB 5 also created a new graduation plan called the foundation program, which includes different credit requirements than the current minimum, recommended and distinguished programs. HB 5 also eliminated the cumulative score requirement and the 15% grading requirement. The Texas Education Agency will provide a transition plan to implement the requirements of HB 5. NEISD is waiting on further details about the HB 5 transition plan to fully understand its impact on students.

My student achieved the minimum score, why does he/she need to retake the EOC exam?

A student’s performance on the EOC exams falls under one of three performance categories established by the Texas Education Agency (TEA):
Level 1: Unsatisfactory Academic Performance
Level 2: Satisfactory Academic Performance, and
Level 3: Advanced Academic Performance

Prior to House Bill 5, the TEA also established a minimum score under Level 1 and within a reasonable range of Level 2. The purpose of the minimum score was for the exam to count in a cumulative score calculation. However, a score between the established minimum score and Level 2 is considered Level 1: Unsatisfactory Academic Performance.

House Bill 5 of the 83rd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature changed high school testing and graduation requirements, including the elimination of the cumulative score requirement. Students who have not reached satisfactory performance on any of the required EOC exams must retake the exam. The required EOC exams will be English I, English II, Algebra I, Biology and U.S. History.

As of August 2, 2013, TEA has notified districts that students who took separate reading and writing exams for English I and/or English II prior to 2014 will be provided some flexibility in meeting their graduation requirements."TEA is proposing to maintain the minimum – and cumulative – score concepts to determine whether students taking these assessments have met their English I and English II graduation requirements. These concepts would be applied within each course, not across courses, and would require students who took separate reading and writing assessments to meet three criteria:

- pass one assessment (either reading or writing);
- meet at least the minimum score on the other; and
- achieve a combined scale score of 3750 (the phase-in 1 standard), which represents the sum of the scale scores needed to reach Level II for reading (1875) and Level II for writing (1875).

These three criteria would apply only to the STAAR English I and II reading and writing assessments administered prior to the roll-out of the redesigned (combined) English I and II assessments in spring 2014. Under this proposal, students who have not met this requirement by that time would need to take and pass the redesigned assessment(s) to meet their English EOC testing requirement for graduation." (Read more about the Commissioner's proposed rules from August 2, 2013.)

Does my student need to retake English III, Geometry, Algebra II, World Geography, World History, Chemistry, and/or Physics now that the governor signed HB 5?

No. The Texas Education Agency has stated that these tests will not be required for graduation.

Where can I review my student's EOC exam scores?

Students and parents can review their EOC exam results through the state’s Student Data Portal, which can be found at www.TexasAssessment.com/students. To log in, you will need the student’s date of birth and unique access code found on the NEISD Parent Portal under the “Tests” tab or at the bottom of the student’s report card. Through the state’s Student Data Portal, parents and students can see test results across administrations and years.

If a student or parent does not have internet access, a copy of the student’s results can be obtained by contacting your high school counselor.

STAAR Videos ON high school requirements

Graduation Requirements for Entering 9th-Graders
2014-2015 and Beyond
 

This 11-minute video provides information on the testing and curriculum requirements for students who enter high school in 2014-2015 and thereafter.

The video refers to two documents, the Four Year Plan Sample document and the Freshman Options for Endorsements document. You may access these two files by clicking below.

 

Four Year Plan Sample (PDF as of 2/21/2014)

 

Freshman Options for Endorsements
(PDF as of 2/28/2014)

Note: This document includes all course offerings across the district, which varies from school to school. Check with your high school counselors for courses that are available at your campus.