The STAAR system annually tests students in grades 3-8 and tests high school students via end-of-course exams. High school students must pass Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology and U.S. History end-of-course exams to graduate.

Individual graduation committees must be established for students in 11th or 12th grade who have failed up to two of the EOCs. The committee determines whether a student can graduate despite failing the exams. The committee is composed of the principal/designee, the teacher of each course for which the student failed the EOC, the department chair or lead teacher supervising the course teacher and the student’s parent (or the student if at least age 18).

To graduate under this route, the student must successfully complete the curriculum requirements. The IGC must recommend additional requirements by which the student may qualify to graduate, including: (1) additional remediation; and (2) for each test failed, the completion of a project related to the subject area or the preparation of a portfolio of work samples in the subject area. The IGC must consider the recommendation of the teacher of each relevant course, the grade in each relevant course, the EOC score, hours of remediation, attendance rate, satisfaction of TSI benchmarks, successful completion of dual-credit courses, and performance on additional measures. The committee’s vote to determine a student’s eligibility for graduation must be unanimous, and the decision is final and not appealable. These provisions expire Sept. 1, 2019.

A student who fails the Algebra I or English II EOC but receives a proficient score on the Texas Success Initiative in the corresponding subject satisfies the EOC passage requirements.

Assessments must be designed so that they can be completed by 85 percent of students within two hours, in grades 3-5; or three hours in grades 6-8. The time allowed for test administration may not exceed eight hours and may occur on only one day.

TEA was required to conduct a study during the 2015-16 school year to develop an alternative method of assessing writing in grades 4-7, as well as the English I and II EOCs. TEA is conducting a pilot of the alternative writing assessment method in designated school districts during the 2017-18 school year.

Students Receiving Services Under Section 504

Students receiving services under section 504 services are required by Texas Education Code (TEC) §28.025(c) to meet all curriculum requirements and assessment graduation requirements in order to receive a Texas high school diploma.

  • Students will take STAAR with or without allowable accommodations.

To learn more about allowable accommodations and eligibility criteria, check out the Accommodations Resources page on the TEA website at https://tea.texas.gov/accommodations/

Special Education Students

The admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee makes educational decisions for a student with a disability, including decisions related to state assessments and decisions related to graduation requirements as described in Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §89.1070.

  • Students will take STAAR with or without allowable accommodations.
  • Review the participation requirements for STAAR Alternate 2 for students with significant cognitive disabilities who access the grade-level Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum through prerequisite skills.

STAAR Accommodations

To learn more about allowable accommodations and eligibility criteria, check out the Accommodations Resources page on the TEA website at https://tea.texas.gov/accommodations/

STAAR Alternate 2

Texas definition of a student with a significant cognitive disability is a student who:

  • exhibits significant intellectual and adaptive behavior deficits in their ability to plan, comprehend, and reason, and ALSO indicates adaptive behavior deficits that limit their ability to apply social and practical skills such as personal care, social problem-solving skills, dressing, eating, using money, and other functional skills across life domains;
  • is NOT identified based on English learner designation or solely on the basis of previous low academic achievement or the need for accommodations; and
  • requires extensive, direct, individualized instruction, as well as a need for substantial supports that are neither temporary nor specific to a particular content area.

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act puts a 1 percent cap at the state level on the number of students who can be assessed in this manner.

To learn more about STAAR Alternate 2, check out the STAAR Alternate 2 Resources page on the TEA website at https://tea.texas.gov/student.assessment/special-ed/staaralt/

Student Promotion/Accelerated Instruction

Texas’ Student Success Initiative, which prohibits the social promotion of students, places emphasis on the STAAR test for determining whether a student advances to the next grade level in grade 5 (a fifth-grade student must pass the math and reading STAAR tests to be promoted to grade 6) and in grade 8 (an eighth-grade student must pass the math and reading STAAR tests to be promoted to grade 9). For all other grades, districts must adopt a policy regarding student advancement. It must include: consideration of the student’s score on the state assessment to the extent applicable; the recommendation of the student’s teacher; the student’s grade in each subject/course; and any other necessary information determined by the district.

Each time a student fails a state assessment, the school district must provide the student with accelerated instruction, which may require participation before or after normal school hours and may include participation outside of the normal school year. The maximum class size for accelerated instruction classes in grades 5 and 8 is 10 students per instructor. A student in grade 5 or 8 who fails to complete the required accelerated instruction cannot be promoted.

A student in grade 5 or 8 who fails the state assessment but is promoted must be assigned in all foundation curriculum subjects to teachers who meet all state and federal qualifications to teach those subjects and grades.

The first time a student fails the STAAR in grade 5 or 8, he/she must be provided at least two opportunities to retest. On the third try, the district may administer an alternative assessment approved by the commissioner, and the student may be promoted if he/she performs at grade level on the alternative assessment.

After a student fails the STAAR a second time, a grade placement committee must be established to prescribe the accelerated instruction program the student must receive. The GPC includes the principal or designee, the student’s parent or guardian, and the teacher of the subject of the failed STAAR test. In the case of a special education student, the GPC is the Admission, Review and Dismissal committee. If the student fails the STAAR a third time, he/she must be retained unless the GPC unanimously determines that if promoted and given accelerated instruction, the student is likely to perform at grade level. In this case, the student must be provided with accelerated instruction, even after promotion.

The information in this post was excerpted from the Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA) webpage on the STAAR/Student Assessment at https://tcta.org/node/11505-staarstudent_assessment and the Texas Education Agency website