Academic Testing in Texas
Tests are part of school life, and it’s no different here in Texas. According to the Texas Education Agency, Texas has had statewide assessments program in place for more than 30 years.
Over time, changes to state and federal statutes, and to the state- mandated curriculum) – have naturally resulted in changes and expansion to the assessment program.
Today, student educational skills are assessed via state tests for general education, special education, and bilingual/English as a Second Language programs to help them reach their full academic potential. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR™) test replaced the long-standing Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test in the last few years. The STAAR program, which began in spring 2012, assesses students entering ninth grade with end-of-course (EOC) assessments, including Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English I, English II, English III, World Geography, World History, and U.S. history.
According to information from the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the new STAAR program is more rigorous than previous state tests, with more test questions at most grade levels. The new STAAR assessments test on material students have studied that year. The STAAR tests also has a time limits; unless students are eligible for an accommodation, they will have four hours to complete each STAAR assessment.
Accommodations for eligible students under the new testing curriculum include the STAAR Modified, which covers the same content as the general STAAR but uses a modified format and test design (such as fewer answer choices and simpler sentence structure and vocabulary), and the STAAR Alternate, which is available for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
Students enrolled at private schools don’t take the STAAR test. In most cases, private schools set their own admission and graduation requirements; check with the admissions office at each school for more information on specific requirements.
For more information about educational testing in Texas, contact the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) Student Assessment Division at 512-463- 9536, or visit www.tea.state.tx.us.
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