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STAAR Testing

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. STAAR evaluates a student's knowledge of the state curriculum standards, known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). 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/.

How is performance measured on STAAR™?
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