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New Letter Provides Timing for Release of Shortened STAAR

09.08.2015 — On September 4, TEA sent a letter to administrators that outlines changes to the timeline for implementing HB 743, as well as other information pertaining to STAAR for 2015-16.

Although HB 743 mandates that the redesigned (shortened) STAAR for grades 3-8 be implemented in 2015-16 (next spring), the TEA letter indicates that only a portion of the tests will be redesigned in time for the spring 2016 administration:

  1. The grades 4 and 7 writing tests will be redesigned to be completed in four hours beginning with the spring 2016 administration.

  2. The redesigned grades 3-8 reading and math tests will be administered beginning with the spring 2017 administration.

This latest announcement differs from information on HB 743 included in the TEA Briefing Book on Public Education Legislation, made available in July 2015. The entry for the bill, which begins on page 80 of the PDF, reported: “The grades 4 and 7 writing assessments cannot be revised in time for the 2016 spring administration. The first administration of the new writing assessments would occur in spring 2017.”

The following summary provides more details on HB 743. TASA will continue to provide updates as the provisions of this bill are implemented.

TASA Summary of HB 743 by Rep. Dan Huberty

HB 743 Provisions Related to Assessment:

Requires that before a STAAR is administered, it be determined to be valid and reliable, based on empirical evidence, by an independent entity.

Mandates that the STAAR be designed to be completed within a certain amount of time by 85 percent of the students to whom it is administered: 120 minutes for students in grades 3-5 and 180 minutes for students in grades 6-8. Prevents the amount of time allowed for STAAR administration from exceeding eight hours, and requires the test administration to occur on only one day.

Mandates TEA to reimburse, from appropriated funds, a school district for fees associated with the administration of college preparation tests. Removes references to vendor reimbursement and replaces with school district reimbursement language.

Requires TEA to develop, by rule, a comprehensive methodology for auditing and monitoring performance under contracts for services to develop or administer state tests. Mandates TEA to ensure that all new and renewed contracts include a provision that TEA or a designee may conduct periodic contract compliance reviews, without advance notice, to monitor vendor performance.

Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year. Earliest effective date: Immediately (NOTE: The latest relevant TEA correspondence states that ONLY the redesigned writing tests will be ready for the spring 2016 administration.)

HB 743 Provisions Related to TEKS Review:

Requires the TEA to study the TEKS of the required (foundation) curriculum, STAAR, and EOC exams. Mandates that the study evaluate: the number and scope of the TEKS and whether either should be limited; the number and subjects of STAAR tests in grades 3-8; and how assessments assess standards essential for student success and whether they should also assess supporting standards.

Mandates TEA to report the results of its study to the SBOE by March 1, 2016. Requires the SBOE to review the study and submit to the governor and each member of the Legislature TEA’s report and SBOE recommendations regarding each issue evaluated.

Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year. Earliest effective date: Immediately