The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR™) replaces the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) starting in the 2011-2012 school year. STAAR includes assessments in the following grades and subjects at the middle school level:
6th – Mathematics and Reading
7th – Mathematics, Reading and Writing
8th – Mathematics, Reading, Social Studies and Science
What’s different about STAAR™?
STAAR includes more difficult testing and requires a higher level of student performance. Assessments increase in length at most grades and subjects. There is also a four-hour time limit for the STAAR grades 3–8 assessments and the STAAR EOC assessments.
For reading, greater emphasis is placed on critical analysis of passages rather than literal understanding. The grade 7 writing test includes three compositions: personal narrative that has a clearly defined focus and communicates the importance of or reasons for actions and/or consequences
and multi-paragraph essay to convey information about a topic (also referred to as expository). (More information about the writing test can be found in the related video on the right.)
On the science and mathematics tests, STAAR 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). Most science and mathematics assessments include three to five griddable items. Illustrations of the test design for grades 3-8
and further explanation about griddable items
are available at www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/staar/.
The Texas Education Agency released performance standards for STAAR at grades
3–8 in January 2013, after the first spring administration of STAAR. TEA has
established a phase-in approach for STAAR performance standards that will
increase over a four-year period. View a detailed
summary chart of performance standards for STAAR tests in grades 3–8.
How does STAAR™ affect middle school students enrolled in a high-school level course (e.g. Algebra I)?
Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, middle school students enrolled in high school-level courses will be required to take the corresponding end-of-course (EOC) assessment. Performance on an EOC taken in middle school will count toward the EOC cumulative score requirements for high school graduation. Additionally, state law requires that 15 percent of the student’s EOC exam score count toward his/her final grade for the course.
However, the Commissioner of Education has allowed districts to defer this requirement for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years.(Please visit the high school section for more information about EOC assessments and their impact on high school graduation.)
Middle school students who completed a high school level course prior to Spring 2012, such as a seventh-grader who took Algebra I during 2010-2011, would not be required to take the corresponding EOC assessment. If the student decides to take the EOC, the score would only be counted in the overall cumulative score for that subject area if it benefits the student.
How does STAAR™ affect promotion to the next grade level?
The Grade Advancement Testing requirement for grades 5 and 8 mandates students pass the STAAR math and reading tests in order to be promoted to the next grade level. Students will be given up to three opportunities to pass each test.
For the 2011-2012 school year only, the promotion requirements for grades 5 and 8 did not include STAAR results.
Districts will be required to provide remediation to any student who fails a STAAR assessment, whether in grades 3-8 or high school.
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