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STAAR

Research showing that reading passages on Texas standardized tests were years above grade level inspired calls for action this legislative session.

Lawmakers responded by passing a bill to study the matter further.

STAAR testing is just about over for this school year. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness have been part of Texas students' lives since 2012, but questions raised this year about the reading test have brought renewed attention to the efficacy of the test – and standardized testing in general.

As the first wave of Texas students sit down to take the state standardized test this week, many parents, educators and lawmakers are wondering whether those tests are fair. Some are convinced the answer to that question is no.


Why The STAAR Test May Be Setting Students Up To Fail

Feb 22, 2019

From Texas Standard:

From botched distribution of exams to concerns about so-called teaching to the test, educators and parents alike have been critical of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, standardized tests since their rollout in 2012. And over the past few years, something unusual has been happening: students who are otherwise successful in the classroom are failing the exams.

Should Texas Eliminate The High-Stakes STAAR Test?

Jan 22, 2019

From Texas Standard:

Stakes can be high for students and teachers in Texas when it comes to standardized testing – specifically, STAAR testing. Students usually need to pass to advance to the next grade, and eventually, to graduate. Families, teachers and teacher groups have been vocal in the past about how stressful the tests can be. They're concerned that spending the entire school year on preparing for the STAAR takes away from other learning opportunities.

Now, a Republican lawmaker has filed a bill in the House that would repeal STAAR testing.

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

More than 100,000 Texas students were affected by computer glitches on standardized tests this year, tens of thousands more than previously estimated, Education Commissioner Mike Morath told the State Board of Education during a briefing on Wednesday morning.

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

The Texas Education Agency will levy a $100,000 financial penalty against the New Jersey-based company that develops and administers standardized tests, after tens of thousands of Texas students were kicked out of the testing software or encountered connection problems while taking computerized State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness exams in April and May.

Texas House Education Committee Backs Bill Overhauling A-F System

Apr 4, 2017
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

In a bittersweet victory for educators seeking edits to the state's proposed A-F system for grading Texas public schools and districts, the House Public Education Committee voted 11-0 Tuesday in favor of a bill that would drastically change the system.

Embattled STAAR Test Vendor Facing $20 Million Fine

Aug 23, 2016
Texas Education Agency / Texas Tribune

The Texas Education Agency is penalizing the New Jersey-based company that develops and administers the state's controversial STAAR tests — to the tune of $20.7 million — over widespread logistical and technical issues reported with the spring administration, Education Commissioner Mike Morath announced Tuesday.

Panel Backpedals On Swapping Out STAAR Tests

Jul 27, 2016
Qiling Wang / Texas Tribune

A special panel charged with suggesting changes to the state’s testing and school accountability system will recommend that state lawmakers implement a series of individualized, computer-based exams to measure student performance and progress throughout the year.

Student STAAR Performance Improves, With Caveat

Jul 14, 2016
Shutterstock.com

Elementary and middle school students appear to be performing better on required state exams after four years of stagnant scores, according to passing rates the Texas Education Agency released Thursday for 2016 exams. 

Study Panel Not Ready to Ditch STAAR

Jun 14, 2016
Sameer Vasta / The Texas Tribune

Despite widespread frustration over mishaps with the administration of this year's STAAR tests, a special panel studying Texas' standardized testing regime says it won't propose scrapping the exams in the near future.

Amid STAAR Upheaval, Panel Working on Fixes

Jun 13, 2016
Sameer Vasta / The Texas Tribune

As displeasure with Texas’ standardized testing regime mounts, all eyes are on a special panel the Legislature created last year to figure out whether to scrap the widely reviled STAAR exam.

Parents Sue Texas Education Agency Over STAAR Exams

May 23, 2016
Wichy / Shutterstock.com

A backlash against this year’s STAAR exams escalated Monday when a group of parents sued the state in an attempt to keep schools from using 2016 test scores to rate students — including deciding whether students should advance to the next grade or attend summer school.

Computer Glitch Affected Thousands Of STAAR Exams

Apr 7, 2016
Photo Illustration/Todd Wiseman

Technical issues last week that caused public school students to lose their answers on state standardized exams affected more than 14,000 computerized tests, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath told the State Board of Education on Wednesday.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Over the next few days, thousands of young Texans will receive their diplomas. Some of those students squeaked by thanks to a new state law. High schoolers no longer have to pass all five end-of-course exams to graduate. 

Kelli Hauser / Twitter/@MMScheerios

How can a video about school testing go viral? When it’s performed to Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.”

Christine Pollock / Flickr.com

A group of educators meeting in Dallas says there’s got to be a better way to evaluate kids than the state’s new STAAR test.

Lauren Silverman

Only a railroad separated West’s intermediate school from the fertilizer plant that exploded last week. The blast destroyed that school -- and left three out of four West ISD campuses unusable. But many West students are going to finish the school year, just not in West. 

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams says he’s heard the complaints and agrees: Schools and student learning need to be evaluated differently.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

State lawmakers are preparing to file a slew of bills that could change the way students are tested and the way school districts are graded. The lightening rod is the new STAAR end-of-course exams. As part of KERA’s American Graduate program, we visited the Arlington school district where there’s a loud cry for reform.

Kumar Appaiah / (cc) flickr

Even before the bang of a gavel opens Texas’ 83rd legislative session around noon, lawmakers will have filed nearly 600 bills that would create or change state law.

<a href="http://shutterstock.com">shutterstock.com</a>

The FBI and the North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force are now in charge of the investigation of a possible bombing attempt in Plano.

Some nasty weather is rolling across north Texas, bringing potentially damaging hail and high winds. Meteorologist Jesse Moore, with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, says it’s not over.

Moore: We could see reports of 2, 2-and-half inch hail as well as wind gusts of 60 mph. So far the biggest I’ve seen has been 2-inch hail up just about 2 miles north of Frisco, and some strong winds, 60 mph winds, reported as well.

timlewisnm / (cc) flickr

Students across Texas are beginning STAAR standardized tests this week. Exams start Monday for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness in English I and III writing.

On Tuesday, students take 4th grade writing exams; math exams for grades 5 and 8; and hold the first day of writing tests for seventh graders. Subsequent tests will follow throughout the week with Friday as a makeup day.

STAAR is replacing the much-maligned Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.

Erin Chiu / (cc) flickr

Third through ninth grade public school students take the new STAAR test today, for the first time. KERA’s Bill Zeeble has more on the “end of course” State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness tests.

An attorney defending Republican-drawn voting maps in Texas has told a federal court there are "insurmountable" differences preventing a compromise with minority rights groups.