In fulfillment of the requirements of House Bill 3 passed by the 81st Texas Legislature and incorporated into Texas Education Code (TEC) Chapter 39, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) developed the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR). STAAR is a more rigorous assessment program that provides the foundation for a new accountability system for Texas public education.
STAAR replaced the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) in spring 2012. The STAAR program at grades 3–8 assesses the same subjects and grades that were assessed on TAKS. At high school, however, grade-specific assessments were replaced with end-of-course (EOC) assessments. House Bill 5, passed by the 82nd Texas Legislature, lowered the end-of-course requirements from 15 assessments to 5 assessments: Algebra I, Biology, English I, English II, and U.S. History. STAAR EOC began with the entering 2011-12 9th graders.
Transition From TAKS To STAAR
The STAAR assessments are designed to be more difficult than TAKS.
The difficulty level is increased by:
- having more questions per test
- measuring a higher level of thinking in relation to content skills
- having more items where students will have to write in responses rather than selecting a response from those provided
- focusing more deeply on content taught during the current year rather than testing knowledge and skills learned over multiple years
- measuring for college and career success
Readiness standards have the following characteristics:
- They are essential for success in the current grade or course.
- They are important for preparedness for the next grade or course.
- They support college and career readiness.
- They necessitate in-depth instruction.
- They address broad and deep ideas.
Supporting standards have the following characteristics:
- Although introduced in the current grade or course, they may be emphasized in a subsequent year.
- Although reinforced in the current grade or course, they may be emphasized in a previous year.
- They play a role in preparing students for the next grade or course but not a central role.
- They address more narrowly defined ideas.
In social studies, science, and mathematics, process skills will be assessed in context, not in isolation, allowing for a more integrated and authentic assessment of these content areas.
Process standards are noted in the TEKS as:
- Underlying Processes and Mathematical Tools
- Scientific Investigation and Reasoning Skills
- Social Studies Skills