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In Case You Missed It: Testimony at the Aug. 26 Senate Education Meeting

The Senate Education Committee met on Aug. 26 to hear invited and public testimony on several interim charges, including a review of the STAAR writing test and an update from Commissioner Williams on STAAR EOC passing rates for the class of 2015. Two notable testifiers at that hearing included superintendent Dawson Orr, and a writing test grader contracted by Pearson, Zenobia Joseph.

Dawson Orr, superintendent of Highland Park ISD, testified that the STAAR writing tests do not properly assess the writing TEKS, stating that true writing is not a one-time event and real assessment cannot occur with a 26-line limit. He said allowing portfolios and multiple drafts is the key to authentic assessment of writing skills. Orr also noted that based on ACT results, the majority of his students were college ready, but according to the STAAR test, they were not. You may watch his compelling testimony which begins at the 36:24 mark in the archived video.

Near the end of the hearing, educator Zenobia Joseph provided testimony regarding the "unintended consequences" of requiring the testing contractor to have the STAAR tests scored within a 10-day period. To watch her testimony, go to the Senate video archives and begin watching at the 4:10 mark or read a transcript of her testimony prepared by TASA staff.