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STAAR – End of Course (EOC) Frequently Asked Questions

How many tests will my child have to take in high school?
Five – Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History
Will my child’s performance on a high school STAAR EOC affect his or her class ranking?
No, your child’s performance on a high school STAAR EOC may not be used to determine their class ranking.
What will happen if my child gets an “unsatisfactory academic performance” (fails) on an EOC test in high school or a grade-level STAAR test ?

 

In general, students must pass (meet or exceed Level II: Satisfactory Academic Performance) on the five STAAR EOC assessments—algebra I, English I, English II, biology, and U.S. history—in order to earn a high school diploma from a Texas public or charter school as required in TEC §39.025. Students who fail are required by the state to be provided with accelerated instruction, which usually occurs during the summer. They will have to retake the test, but they will not have to retake the course before retaking the test.
 
In December of 2015, the HISD Board of Education voted to change promotion standards for the 2015-2016 school year only for grades 3, 4, 6, and 7 due to changes in the state's testing calendar for the spring of 2016. Because those tests are now later in the school year, the results will not be back in time to make promotion/retention decisions based on STAAR results, Because of this delay in reporting, the board voted that these students are not required to pass the STAAR tests to be promoted to the next grade.
 
In addition to local and state promotion requirements, the Texas Legislature created the Student Success Initiative (SSI) to ensure that students receive the instruction and support they need to be academically successful in reading and mathematics. Under SSI, students in fifth and eighth grade must pass the STAAR mathematics and reading tests. HISD students in SSI grades 5 and 8 who do not pass the STAAR will be required to attend 2016 summer school
 
Students in fifth and eighth grade who fail the first administration of STAAR in March and must retest in May should plan to attend summer school until results from the state indicate that they have passed the retest. Although retest results are expected by May 31, 2016, this will not allow time for administrators to make promotion/retention decisions based on STAAR results. Once the results are received by the principal of the school sometime in June, parents will be notified, and at that point, they may choose to remove their child from summer school or allow them to finish.

 

How does STAAR differ from previous state tests?

STAAR is more rigorous than previous state tests and, in general, questions on the STAAR tests have multiple steps and require higher-level thinking. STAAR focuses on content taught during the current year rather than testing knowledge and skills learned over multiple years. STAAR has more test questions at each grade level.

STAAR basics
What is STAAR?
The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, replaced the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) beginning in spring 2012.
What is the difference between STAAR and EOC?
STAAR refers to the assessments given in grades 3-8. STAAR EOC (End of Course) refers specifically to the course assessments taken in high school (or eighth grade): Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History.
Which students are required to take the STAAR tests?
All students in grade 3 through 12 are required to take some or all of the tests. Depending on their grade level, students will be tested in core subjects – reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. The number of tests taken each year will vary from two to four, depending on grade level. The STAAR EOC assessments in high school will test students' knowledge of material that they studied the year they take the test.
How many testing opportunities will students have for the STAAR and STAAR EOC tests?

Testing opportunities vary by grade-level and assessment. Click here to see the 2015-2016 testing calendar.

Are STAAR tests available to use to prepare for the assessments?
Yes. Released copies of STAAR are available here: Released Test Questions page. These will help students, parents, teachers, and administrators understand the increased rigor and level of performance required for student success on each assessment.
What are district assessments, and how have they changed?
School districts are limited to two district assessments, also known as benchmarks, per school year. These are tests designed specifically to prepare students for STAAR tests. Teachers may still use their own teacher-developed tests during the school year to determine a student’s mastery of a subject, and the various beginning-, mid-, and end-of-year tests provided by the district are not considered benchmarks because they are not tied to STAAR.
Is there a limit on the number of other tests such as PSAT, SAT, ACT, or AP exams?
No, the law does not address college-preparation tests, nor does it limit tests designed or adopted and administered by a classroom teacher.

Scoring STAAR
How is STAAR scored and reported?

Student performance on STAAR, STAAR Modified, and STAAR L will fall into one of three categories:

  • Level III – Advanced Academic Performance: Student is well prepared for next grade or course. This is similar to scoring commended on TAKS.
  • Level II – Satisfactory Academic Performance: Student is sufficiently prepared for next grade or course. This is similar to scoring met-standard on TAKS.
  • Level I – Unsatisfactory Academic Performance: Student is not prepared for next grade or course, and strong academic support is needed. This is similar to scoring unsatisfactory on TAKS.
If you fail a STAAR test, do you have to attend summer school?

Students who fail to reach the appropriate standard on a STAAR test are required by the state to be provided with accelerated instruction, which usually occurs during the summer. HISD board policy states that meeting the Level II Satisfactory Academic Performance level on STAAR reading and math tests is required for promotion to the next grade level in grades 5 and 8. The HISD Board of Education voted to change promotion standards for grades 3, 4, 6, and 7 at the Dec. 15, 2015, board meeting due to changes in the state’s testing calendar for the spring of 2016 (see "What will happen if my child gets an "unsatisfactory academic performance on a grade-level STAAR test" above).

How do I get a copy of my child’s score?

The Confidential Student Report is sent home following each test administration window. If you do not receive a report, contact your child’s school.

 

Graduation Requirements Under STAAR
How is performance on a STAAR EOC tied to a student’s graduation requirements?
In addition to meeting the course requirements mandated by the State of Texas, a student will have to pass five STAAR EOC tests: Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History.
What are the requirements for the “Foundation” high school graduation plan that replaces the Minimum and Recommended plans?

The Foundation plan requires 22 credits to graduate in the areas listed below. In addition, passing scores on the five STAAR EOC exams are required. Keep in mind that graduation requirements are those in effect the year a student enters high school as a ninth-grader. See your school counselor for complete information.

  • 4 English Language Arts
  • 3 Mathematics (Algebra I, Geometry, and advanced math)
  • 3 Social Studies (World Geography or World History, U.S. History, Government & Economics
  • 3 Science (Biology and 2 additional sciences – advanced or IPC)
  • 2 Languages other than English
  • 1 Fine Arts
  • 1 Physical Education
  • .5 Health
  • .5 Communication Applications or Professional Communications
  • 1 Technical Communications
  • 3 Electives
How does the “Distinguished Track” graduation plan differ from the Foundation plan?
Students must have 26 credits to graduate – four years of math (including Algebra II) and four years of science. They must also have an Endorsement.
What is an Endorsement?

There are five possible Endorsements, and the student must select an area in which to focus their freshman year:

  • Arts and Humanities: cultural studies, English literature, fine arts, history, political science, and world languages
  • Business and Industry: accounting, architecture, automotive technology, communications, construction, database management, finance, graphic design, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), information technology, logistics, marketing, and welding
  • Public Services: agricultural science, culinary arts and hospitality, education and training, health science and occupations, and law enforcement
  • STEM: science, technology, engineering, and math
  • Multidisciplinary Studies: a combination of courses in the four previously listed Endorsements
How does a student’s performance on a STAAR EOC test affect his or her grade in that class?
The former 15-percent rule – which required a student’s STAAR EOC score to count as 15 percent of the student’s grade in each tested subject area – has been eliminated.
Can a student retake a STAAR EOC test to improve their grade?

No. Once a student meets standard on a STAAR EOC exam, the student is not eligible to test in future administrations.

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