STAAR to Replace TAKS in Coming School Year

HISD prepares for more rigorous state tests

June 09, 2011

Beginning next spring, the state assessment program known as the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) will be replaced by the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR).

While students won’t take the first STAAR exams until March of 2012, HISD has spent months preparing for the new assessment program. During a recent presentation to HISD principals, Curriculum and Instruction Officer Kim Hall explained that the STAAR would be more rigorous than the TAKS. She said students taking the tests will have to do more than recall facts. They will be required to apply, analyze, interpret, and evaluate information.

“For example,” Hall said, “on the writing assessment, students will be asked to do more revisions and less editing. Revisions are considered more rigorous because there is a greater depth of knowledge that is required when you are revising a document.”

The STAAR will serve as the foundation of the state’s new accountability system for public education. The Texas Education Agency says, “STAAR will better measure the academic performance of students as they progress from elementary to middle to high school.”

Hall says the biggest change in the new assessment design is that the state will be establishing readiness standards to determine whether students are on a path to college and meaningful careers.

“We will have specific standards for a particular course and grade level,” she said. “We’re moving from setting performance standards separately at each grade level to setting performance standards as an aligned system across grades and courses.” Hall explained that the process is expected to help school districts determine whether students have the foundation needed to help them be successful as they advance to the next grade.

STAAR will assess the same subjects and grades that are currently covered by the TAKS in grades 3 through 8. At the high school level, grade-specific assessments will be replaced with 12 end-of-course assessments: Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, English II, English III, world geography, world history, and U.S. history.

For more information, visit the Texas Education Agency’s STAAR website.