Commissioner Williams Shortens Grades 3-8 STAAR Assessments

Texas Education Agency and the Commissioner of Education have announced changes in the 2015-2016 STAAR and End of Course exams. In an effort to shorten the test, all field test questions for STAAR in grades 3 – 8  will be removed. As a result, each assessment will be reduced in length by five to eight questions. In addition, TEA has redesigned the writing tests for grades 4 and 7 so the students will be able to complete the written portion of the test in one, four-hour administration as opposed to the current two day, four–hour administrations of the writing test.

Commissioner of Education, Michael Williams, notified school districts and charters, on Friday, October 16, that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) will reduce the length of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) in grades 3–8 for the 2016 spring administrations.

“House Bill 743, which was passed by the Legislature earlier this year, requires STAAR assessments be designed so 85 percent of students can complete the grades 3–5 assessments in two hours and 85 percent of students can complete the grades 6–8 assessments in three hours,” said Commissioner Williams. “The steps I’m announcing for the coming school year are merely the first as TEA works to meet the legislative requirements while also balancing the validity and reliability of each assessment.”

To meet this legislative requirements of HB 743, TEA will take the following actions in the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years:

  • For 2016 only, TEA will remove all currently-embedded field-test questions for STAAR grades 3–8, which will reduce the length of each assessment by five to eight questions.
  • TEA has also redesigned the 2016 STAAR grades 4 and 7 writing tests so they will be completed in one four-hour administration.

In addition, Commissioner Williams advised that TEA will also collect detailed data during the spring 2016 test administration on the time it takes students to complete the assessments. That data will then be used to determine how to adjust the STAAR grades 3–8 assessments for spring 2017 testing to more precisely meet the testing time requirements of HB 743.

Rockwall ISD’s Chief Academic Officer, Sara Bonser, said, “Rockwall ISD supports the changes made by TEA and the Commissioner of Education to shorten the length of the required state assessments.”

To read Commissioner Williams’ letter to school districts click here.

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