No STAAR Math Re-Testing in 2015

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TEA Changes the Rules Again!

Children in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 were forced to attend summer school if they failed the 2014 STAAR math tests. A large percent of these children had passing grades in math, but the STAAR scores trumped all class grades. Fail STAAR Math and you attend summer school. Why? MONEY HONEY! Happy Children

The testing program sucks millions and millions of tax dollars out of the Texas education fund. Retesting is an expense that can be easily cut and this money used in a more positive way. Maybe even the hiring of people who can write quality state standards TEKS for math and science. Donna Garner had to fight to provide decent ELAR TEKS, but TEA and the SBOE paw at the ground like a bull when the errors in the science TEKS are mentioned. Maybe if the kids continued to fail the STAAR Education Commissioner Michael Williams will slip in common core standards. He appears to be working on this. Following is a statement from the commissioner in reference to how Texas teachers will be evaluated.

Commissioner Williams said, “TEA is considering options regarding state and federal accountability and performance-based monitoring. Once we have more information, we will share that with you.” The commissioner leaves out the part that the federal accountability is based on the common core standards.

Have you noticed how many times the Texas Math standards have been revised? First was the big transition in 2010, then another tweaking and now major revisions are being made.

Think about it!
1.
Have all of the STAAR math tests been incorrect?
2. Are the same people creating the TEKS doing the revisions?
3. How competent are the members of the State Board of Education? Thomas Ratliff is an illegal member because he is a lobbyists. With his duties to Microsoft, does Ratliff spend quality time overseeing the TEKS?

4. Have you noticed that no matter what the Education code is, TEA can test –retest– no retest–not count the STAAR scores—what ever best fits the data collected. The STAAR/EOC tests have nothing to do with educating children. It is all about data with is all about MONEY!!!!

 Comment from Marie—-

I wonder if TEA is now listening….

TEA just shared information regarding new math TEKS and Spring 2015 Math STAAR.

Two major announcements were made:

1) Students in grades 3-8 who take the math STAAR in the Spring of 2015 will only receive a raw score (# of questions correct/# of total questions).

2) Performance standards will be set using Spring 2015 scores in the Summer of 2015,
this will result in no math re-testing for students in 5th and 8th grade that take the Spring 2015 STAAR.

What about the re-testing for STAAR reading?

 Here is the information taken from TEA’s website:

May 1, 2014

TO THE SUPERINTENDENT ADDRESSED:
SUBJECT: State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) Transition to New Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Mathematics

The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the statewide curriculum standards, are reviewed and updated on a regular basis by the State Board of Education (SBOE). As revisions are made to the TEKS, changes are subsequently made to the assessment program to maintain a strong, direct, and effective link between the TEKS and the statewide assessments.

Revised TEKS in mathematics were adopted by the SBOE in April 2012. The revised TEKS for kindergarten–grade 8 will be implemented in classrooms, and therefore in the grades 3–8 assessment program, in the 2014–2015 school year. The revised TEKS for high school mathematics, including Algebra I and II, are expected to be implemented in classrooms and in the assessments in the 2015–2016 school year. Teachers across the state are required to teach the revised TEKS, and the state assessments will align to the TEKS that are required to be taught.

In the past the Texas Assessment Program has integrated changes to the TEKS in the state assessments using an “overlap year” approach for the first year of TEKS implementation. This approach worked well when the changes were minimal (e.g., during the prior rounds of mathematics refinements in 2005 and 2009) or when the assessment program has been in transition (e.g., TAKS to STAAR, as occurred during the 2009 science TEKS revisions and the 2010 social studies revisions).

The overlap in the algebra content between the current and the revised TEKS is fairly extensive. As a result, the shift in the STAAR Algebra I and II assessments to incorporate the revised algebra TEKS is not significant. Therefore, an overlap plan for assessing Algebra I and Algebra II in 2015–2016 is feasible. The tests will only assess the content that overlaps between the current and the revised TEKS in the first year the revised TEKS are required to be taught.

There are substantial challenges associated with implementation of the revised mathematics TEKS in the STAAR grades 3–8 assessments. Specifically, there is not sufficient overlap between the current and the revised TEKS at these grade levels to make the overlap approach feasible. Texas Education Agency (TEA) staff are currently working on a plan for assessing grades 3–8 mathematics in spring 2015. The plan will involve a special operational administration that incorporates the revised mathematics TEKS as indicated in the recently posted STAAR assessed curriculum documents and blueprints available on the STAAR Mathematics Resources webpage at: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/staar/math/.

What’s the big deal? Write correct math TEKs and Write correct math STAAR questions. Substantial changes would not be necessary if those writing the TEKS were qualified. 

For the spring 2015 STAAR grades 3–8 mathematics test administrations, students will receive a raw score (XX questions correct out of XX total questions) prior to the end of the school year based on their performance on the assessments. Then data from the spring administrations will be used to establish new performance standards for STAAR mathematics in summer 2015. The new performance standards will be retroactively applied to the spring 2015 administrations with new reports and data files sent to school districts in August 2015.
Because performance standards for STAAR grades 3–8 mathematics will not be set until after the spring 2015 administration, Student Success Initiative (SSI) retest opportunities for STAAR grades 5 and 8 mathematics will not be offered in May and June of 2015. For the 2014–2015 school year, districts will use other relevant academic information to make promotion/retention decisions for mathematics. This is similar to the approach used for SSI in spring 2012 for the first administration of STAAR. Please note that SSI will still be in effect for reading in 2014–2015.

TEA is considering options regarding state and federal accountability and performance-based monitoring. Once we have more information, we will share that with you.

So you are finally announcing the implementation of the Federal Common Core Standards and Common Core performance-based monitoring of teachers.

What a sorry thing to do. You are announcing that TEA is not competent and Texas will have to allow the Federal Government to take over our education. 

Thank you for your continued commitment to the success of Texas students. If you have questions regarding the STAAR program, please call the Student Assessment Division at 512-463-9536. If you have questions regarding the revised TEKS for mathematics, call the Curriculum Division at 512-463-9581.

Sincerely,

Michael Williams
Commissioner of Education

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Comments

  1. Our child receives sp ed services through an IEP and is dyslexic. Our child took the modified STAAR reading last year. Now because of accountability issues they no longer be using modified STAAR. Now our child will have access to STAAR A which is computer driven accommodations which is built in to your child AT if your child receives AT. This should bee on the TEA website now…..
    In July TEA sent this information to districts.

    “Standardized oral administration (SOA) for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) program will be offered statewide as an online option for oral administration in several grades and subjects. The 2014 SOA is available to eligible students in the following grades and subjects:
    •grade 4 reading and mathematics (English only)
    •grade 7 reading and mathematics
    •grade 8 science and social studies

    If possible, districts should plan on administering SOA on the same days as the general administration of the assessment. However, districts have the flexibility to administer SOA on alternate days during the testing week, if needed. Makeup testing will be allowed.

    If a situation arises, a student may switch from an online SOA to a paper test during the test administration. The district test coordinator should contact the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Student Assessment Division online team for assistance.”

    There are resources to help districts prepare teachers and students in using SOA’s. This information is at: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/soa/

    TEA has posted a Power Point presentation on the new STAAR A, the accommodated version of STAAR. This Power Point can be found at: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/special-ed/

    These are comments from that presentation that give some sense of what this test will be like. This is an online test with built-in accommodation “tools”. There is no indication that the concern about students who lack “content knowledge” has or will be addressed more effectively.

    Stakeholders input – “While the accommodations are going to be very helpful for many children, students who lack the content knowledge will still likely struggle.”

    67 students in 5 school districts participated in a STAAR A trial lab. Cognitive lab trial observations – “Grade-level content continued to be challenge for most students; however, all students reported that the embedded accommodations were helpful & felt the experience was a positive one.”

    “The embedded accommodations seemed to provide better access to the content being assessed.” “For instance, students did not understand the meaning of some vocabulary, but understood the simplified language in popups.”

    “Teachers indicated that students would need practice using the tools and accommodations and were concerned about using instructional time for this practice. However, they also felt that the tools would be helpful for their students.”

    “The text-to-speech (TTS) function was well received by both students and teachers. Some students reported a desire to have popups and rollovers read aloud, but said they wouldn’t mind asking their teacher to read them aloud if needed.”

    STAAR A Accommodations Guidelines

    “Accommodations that could potentially interfere with the construct being assessed are not provided.

    Vocabulary may be simplified where appropriate.

    • Visuals and animations

    Bullets and line breaks are provided where appropriate.

    In some cases, shortcuts are provided to resources that all students can access, for example: formulas and other reference materials.

    Graphic organizers may be provided where appropriate.

    Continuous read and word by word read aloud are embedded in all STAAR A tests.”

    STAAR A Eligibility

    “Discussions are ongoing regarding eligibility for STAAR A.

    Eligibility information will be released on or around the currently scheduled September 24th TETN presentation.

    STAAR A participation may be documented through a decision to amend ARD documents for students who will be assessed with STAAR A once eligibility criteria are made available.”

    “Participation requirements for STAAR Alternate are not changing significantly. Therefore, a change in the population of students assessed with STAAR Alternate is not anticipated.”

    Next Steps

    “ARD Resources

    • Anticipated release in early fall

    Educator Guide to Assessments for Students with Disabilities

    • Anticipated release in early fall

    Student Tutorials

    • Planned to be multi-subject

    • Will be released by grade cluster

    • Anticipated release in the fall semester”

    On June 5, 2014, TEA presented an update on special ed assessments for 2015. Accommodations policies for 2015 have not yet been finalized. Additional information from the slides:

    For students receiving special education services and have failed an EOC assessment:

    STAAR EOC

    An ARD committee may determine that the student should continue testing until he/she passes the assessment OR they can determine no further testing is necessary based on the instruction the student is receiving.

    If a student meets curriculum requirements and passes all 5 STAAR EOC assessments, he/she can graduate on the DAP, RHSP, or the MHSP.

    If a student does not pass a STAAR EOC assessments, he/she will only be able to graduate on the MHSP(Minimum High School Graduation Plan).

    STAAR Modified EOC

    A student will not have another opportunity to take a STAAR Modified EOC assessment if he/she failed or was absent during testing. However, according to federal and state regulations, students who take a modified assessment are not held to the same graduation requirements as students who take the general assessment. Meeting the passing standard on a STAAR Modified EOC assessment is not a graduation requirement, so participating in additional testing opportunities was never necessary.

    A student will graduate on the MHSP if he/she took at least one STAAR Modified EOC assessment.

    Updated ARD committee training for assessment decisions will be posted in the Fall of 2014.

    Allowable testing accommodations currently posted apply to the 2014 calendar year…meaning that these policies remain in effect until December 2014.

    This TEA presentation can be found at: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/

    • Janice VanCleave says:

      It appears that special education is being phased out. Instead, all students are part of
      regular classes. This is called inclusion.