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Recommendation on STAAR End-of-Course Exam “15 Percent” Grading Requirement

A student’s score on State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course exams taken during spring 2012 would have no bearing on that student’s grades or class rank, according to policy revisions proposed by the AISD administration. The Board of Trustees is scheduled to take action on the proposed revisions at its next regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 27.

Last summer, based on information available to the district at that time, the Board approved revisions to district policies to conform to the requirement under state law that 15 percent of a student’s course grade be determined by the student’s performance on the corresponding end-of-course exam. Since then, a growing number of students, parents, education professionals, state lawmakers, and others—including this administration—have expressed concerns about the effect the “15 percent requirement” could have on student grades and college admissions. On Feb. 17, the Commissioner of Education announced the state will allow school districts to delay the implementation of the “15 percent requirement” until the 2012-13 school year.

Based on these events and information, the Board on Monday, Feb. 20, indicated its willingness to return the language of district policies to previous versions that did not include end-of-course exam performance in the calculation of student grades. Much is still unknown regarding passing standards and test performance in this first year of the STAAR program, and approval of this delay could provide the Board more time to decide how to implement state requirements next year, after more is known about the new tests.

While a decision to not factor end-of-course scores in a student’s grade point average or class rank this school year could relieve some of the pressure on students and families, students will still be held accountable for their performance on end-of-course assessments this year in terms of satisfying graduation requirements.

The district will communicate directly with students and parents after the Board takes action on Monday.

For more information about STAAR, please visit AISD's STAAR site: http://www.austinisd.org/staar.