A STAAR is Born
Beginning this school year, The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR™) will replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). According to the TEA website, the STAAR includes the 12 end-of-course (EOC) assessments mandated by SB 1031 in 2007 and the new grade 3–8 assessments mandated by HB 3 in 2009.
At grades 3–8, students will be tested in mathematics and reading. Students will also be tested in writing at grades 4 and 7, science at grades 5 and 8, and social studies at grade 8. STAAR EOC assessments will be available for Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English I, English II, English III, World Geography, World History, and U.S. History.
Students first enrolled in grade 9 or below in the 2011–2012 school year will be required to take the STAAR EOC assessments for courses in which they are enrolled as part of their graduation requirements and will no longer take TAKS. Students enrolled in grade 10 or above in the 2011–2012 school year or who are repeating grade 9 in the 2011–2012 school year will graduate under TAKS requirements and do not have the option of taking STAAR assessments. These students will only take STAAR EOC assessments if their campus has been assigned to participate in the mandatory testing activities.
The new STAAR assessments are designed to be more difficult than TAKS.
The difficulty level will be increased by having more questions per test, measuring a higher level of thinking in relation to content skills, having more items where students will have to write in responses rather than selecting a response from those provided, focusing more deeply on content taught during the current year rather than, testing knowledge and skills learned over multiple years, and measuring readiness for college and career success.
This new system focuses on increasing postsecondary readiness of graduating high school students and helps to ensure that Texas students are competitive with other students both nationally and internationally.