In the last legislative session, HB 743 reducing the length of grades 3-8 STAAR Assessments was passed with overwhelming support. The law, signed and supported by Governor Greg Abbott, was to be effective this current school year. (2015- 2016)
HOWEVER- in Texas Education Agency's 84th Legislative Briefing Book (http://tea.texas.gov/index4.aspx?id=5142) on page 83- TEA states that "The grades 3-5 assessments in reading and mathematics cannot be revised in time for the spring 2016 administration. The first administration of the shortened assessments would occur in spring 2017."
The law clearly states that it is effective June 19th, 2015, and applies beginning with the 2015-2016 school year. We believe that shortening tests would be feasible for this year's assessment, and TEA should be required to follow the law and provide Texas students with age appropriate testing.
If the tests are not shortened in time for the Spring administration, they will be legally invalid, as they do not meet the requirement of Texas HB 743 LAW. This presents an even bigger problem, as TEA still expects districts to enforce grade retention for 5th & 8th graders who do not pass this year's assessments, despite the fact that the assessments do NOT meet the legal requirements. School districts will also still be evaluated and rated based on these legally invalid test scores.
In the briefing book- TEA also stated
"Also, the shortened grades 3-5 assessment may not effectively measure the entirety of the TEKS curriculum standards."
This is absolutely untrue. Texas elementary students had the same reading skills during the former TAKS test as they do currently and somehow managed to test those same skills in entirety in 3 stories rather than 5. (Students actually have 6 stories if you include the field story.)
Furthermore- according to the Math STAAR blueprint and the numerous new math TEKS, TEA currently leaves many supporting standards off of the test already. They have never tested all supporting standards in one year but instead alternate standards out in yearly cycles. This means that the standards that were tested last year will not be the same standards on this year's tests.
This being said, with a new test developer in place, with many adjustments still being in the process, there is plenty of time to shorten this year's assessments to make them age appropriate and LEGALLY valid!
Please sign our petition in support of enforcing the LAW HB 743 for THIS school year.