Since legislation passed requiring districts across the state to adopt the new STAAR testing program, AISD has been working diligently to ensure students’ success on the more rigorous exams.
From providing training and resources for staff, to developing curriculum guides that align learning activities with assessment preparation, the district remains dedicated to student achievement.
During the Regular Board Meeting on November 21, the Board of Trustees adopted the following items related to STAAR:
- A waiver application to the Texas Education Agency requesting that the District be exempt from the state requirement that STAAR EOC (end-of-course) determine 15% of a student’s final grade. While state law prohibits such a waiver from being granted, trustees agreed it sent an important message about the concerns many students and families in Austin have about the requirement.
- A policy to discontinue the practice of issuing partial course credit for students taking the EOC during 2011-2012, so that students will have a year-long average that includes EOC assessments determining 15 percent of the grade for the course, rather than 30 percent of a student’s grade during the spring semester. Next year, all students will move to year-long averages in all courses, rather than partial credit.
- A policy to change the amount of how much a student’s score on a semester exam will contribute to their overall grade. This amount will be adjusted for students who are required to take the state EOC assessments to allow that assessment to determine 15 percent of a student’s final course grade.
The actions of the Board echo the District’s intent to honor state requirements, while also fully supporting the academic advancement of students. The adoption of the policies is a step forward in terms of administrative and academic preparation for the exams, which will be administered for the first time this spring.
As an additional preparation measure, AISD has created an online STAAR resource for parents and students. The STAAR website includes FAQs, information on test prep, test schedules and resources links. The site can be accessed at www.AustinISD.org/STAAR. As more information becomes available from TEA or the District, the site will continue to be updated.
During the spring of 2012 students in grades 3 through 9 will be required to take part in a new state-mandated testing program called STAAR(State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness), which will replace TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills). STAAR, intended to emphasize readiness standards considered to be the most important for success in the grade or subject that follows and for college and career, differs from the previous TAKS exams in many ways: the questions are more rigorous, students have a four-hour time limit, there are 12 high school end of course assessments and the STAAR End-of-Course scores will count for 15 percent of the student’s course grade.