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Students Served Through Special Education Programs

As under the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee will decide which State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) assessment a student served through special education programs should take based on his/her abilities and eligibility requirements. Individual ARD committees will continue to consider the needs of each student and select additional accommodations and supplemental aids that are necessary to support the student’s success during assessment.

All students served through special education programs must have access to grade-level curriculum. Students targeted for a modified exam will either receive instruction within the general education classroom with modified expectations or be provided instruction in a special education setting. These options are decided by the ARD committee. Students taking a modified assessment will receive modifications and accommodations intended to support their success. More information about the STAAR modified assessments can be found below.

STAAR™ Modified

The Texas Education Agency has established student participation requirements for the STAAR Modified assessments, which are available at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/special-ed/staarm/. Placing students on a STAAR Modified exam indicates that the student is also receiving extensive modifications and accommodations within the classroom and is not expected to achieve grade-level proficiency during the school year. The STAAR Modified assessments will cover the same content as the general STAAR assessments, but will be modified in format, test design and level of difficulty. STAAR Modified will reflect increased rigor and include more rigorous item types.

Modified assessments will be developed for all content areas for grades 3-8 that are part of the general STAAR program and for STAAR end-of-course (EOC) assessments. As of August 2, 2013, TEA has notified districts that "... all STAAR Modified assessments will be administered for the final time during the 2013-2014 assessment cycle." (Read more about the Commissioner's proposed rules from August 2, 2013.)

High school students who enter ninth grade prior to 2014-2015 and who take the STAAR Modified or STAAR Alternate EOC assessments will graduate under the Minimum graduation plan and may not qualify under acceptance requirements for a four-year state college/university. However, students will be able to participate in other post secondary opportunities that will either lead them toward meeting the requirements for participating in a four-year university program or prepare them for a career/job that does not require a university level degree.

House Bill 5 (HB 5) of the 83rd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature creates a new graduation plan -- the Foundation High School Program -- for students who enter high school in 2014-2015. However, HB 5 requires the state's Commissioner of Education to develop a transition plan that allows a student who enters ninth-grade before 2014-2015 to graduate under the Foundation, Minimum, Recommended or Advanced [Distinguished] programs as the three latter programs existed before HB 5. (Note: This web page will be updated when more information about the foundation program and the transition plan becomes available.)

STAAR™ Alternate

The Texas Education Agency has established student participation requirements for the STAAR Alternate assessments, which are available at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/special-ed/staaralt/partreqs/. The STAAR Alternate assessments will be very similar in design to the TAKS-Alt assessments and continue to reflect an online portfolio created by the special education teacher, which will be submitted to the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Students will continue to perform standardized assessment tasks linked to the grade-level Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) that measure student progress on skills aligned with the academic grade-level content standards. However, STAAR Alternate will incorporate a vertical alignment in the program’s assessment tasks, and the high school assessments will move from grade-level assessments to course-based assessments.

The new STAAR Alternate assessments will reflect the same increased rigor and focus of the general and modified assessments. High school students who enter ninth grade prior to 2014-2015 and who take the STAAR Modified or STAAR Alternate EOC assessments will graduate under the Minimum graduation plan and may not qualify under acceptance requirements for a four-year state college/university. However, students will be able to participate in other post secondary opportunities that will either lead them toward meeting the requirements for participating in a four-year university program or prepare them for a career/job that does not require a university level degree.

House Bill 5 (HB 5) of the 83rd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature creates a new graduation plan -- the Foundation High School Program -- for students who enter high school in 2014-2015. However, HB 5 requires the state's Commissioner of Education to develop a transition plan that allows a student who enters ninth-grade before 2014-2015 to graduate under the Foundation, Minimum, Recommended or Advanced [Distinguished] programs as the three latter programs existed before HB 5. (Note: This web page will be updated when more information about the foundation program and the transition plan becomes available.)

Will there be a STAAR Accommodated test?

There will not be a specific form of the test called STAAR Accommodated as there was under TAKS. Rather, students needing accommodations will take the general STAAR tests on grade level and be provided with accommodations directed by their ARD/Individual Education Plan (IEP), which comply with the accommodations guidelines from the Texas Education Agency. More information about the accommodations for students with disabilities taking STAAR, STAAR Modified, STAAR L (linguistically accommodated), and TELPAS is available at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/accommodations/staar-telpas/.