STAAR

TEKS and Common Core
9:00 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Are Common Core and Texas Teaching Standards Really That Different?

Jon Shapley for KUT News

Elgin Middle School sixth grader Allison Graves sits at a computer in math class, using a program called Think Through Math to practice fractions.

“Your friend gave you a bag of candy," she reads. "There are 36 red candies and 27 green candies. What is the ratio of green candies to red candies?”

The online math program takes Graves through each lesson step by step. She collects points for correct answers and competes against classmates and other Texas students.

Read more
Education
4:49 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Calculator Directive for 8th-Graders Draws Concerns

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

As the state integrates a directive that requires eighth-graders in Texas public schools to have graphing calculators for STAAR testing, some poorer Texas school districts say that such mandates ignore the financial crunch that many districts are already facing.

In February, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams wrote to Texas superintendents to instruct them that they must ensure that eighth-grade students have graphing calculators for STAAR assessments, starting in the 2014-15 school year. The directive comes after the State Board of Education increased the algebra content on the exam, said Debbie Ratcliffe, a TEA spokeswoman.

Read more
Education
5:26 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

What Does House Bill 5 Mean For the Future of Texas High Schools?

Nathan Bernier/KUT News

Texas high schools are preparing for major changes to graduation requirements. Under a new law, schools will have less standardized testing. But when it comes to implementing the new legislation, many questions are yet to be answered. 

The State Board of Education hashed out the details today of how to enforce the new high school graduation requirements that go into effect in the 2014-15 school year. Monica Martinez, managing director of curriculum for the Texas Education Agency, noted the challenges of implementing standards consistently statewide. 

Read more
Education
9:35 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Why Passing the STAAR Exam Will Get Tougher, Starting Next Year

STAAR Test results released last week show small gains. But as students get used to the test, standards for grading are changing.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

STAAR test results released last week show minimal gains compared to 2012. It was the second year students took the new standardized tests, which teachers and administrators say are more rigorous. 

Read more
Education
6:44 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Interview: Texas Dials Back Standardized Testing

Darren Braun for Texas Monthly

Interview with Texas Monthly's Nate Blakeslee

As Austin ISD and other school districts across Texas hunker down and power through another round of state standardized tests this week, lawmakers are making moves that suggest they think the testing regime has gone too far.

House Bill 5, for example, would reduce the number of tests students need to pass to graduate from 15 to 5. This is happening in a state that gave birth to the "academic accountability" movement. 

Texas Monthly senior editor Nate Blakeslee examines the issue in the May edition of the magazine, on news stands now. Listen to our interview with him above and read his article at TexasMonthly.com.

Education
5:30 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Texas Students Must Pass STAAR Exams to Move to Next Grade

TEA Commissioner Michael Williams says there is enough money to tutor those who don't pass the STAAR exam.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Texas students taking the STAAR test this week will have to pass in order to advance to the next grade.

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams says there is enough money in the preliminary state budget to provide tutoring to fifth and eighth graders who fail the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. 

Right now, state lawmakers have allocated $41 million over the next two years for the Student Success Initiative. SSI provides money to school districts to tutor students who cannot pass the STAAR reading or math tests. 

Read more
The Lead
9:21 am
Wed March 13, 2013

The Lead: AMD Sale-Lease Deal, Pot Bill Pending, STAAR Test

State lawmakers debated rolling back the STAAR testing requirements for high school graduation.
Jason Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Good morning! Highs in the mid-70’s today bring perfect weather for South By Southwest music fans.

Lead Story: Advanced Micro Devices says it is selling its southwest Austin campus and leasing it back. AMD says it won’t affect operations, but it will free up about $164 million in cash.

Read more
Education
6:02 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Carstarphen Supports STAAR Rollback

Austin Superintendent Meria Carstarphen wants the Legislature to ease off on standardized testing.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen says she supports measures to dial back standardized testing in Texas schools. One bill proposed by the head of the House Public Education Committee, Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, would reduce the number of STAAR tests required to graduate from 15 to five.

Carstarphen says the new STAAR test was rolled out too quickly.

Read more
Education
5:00 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Lawmakers Turn Focus to Career/Tech Education

Sen. Patrick (R-Houston) hopes to announce his election plans this summer.
Photo courtesy The Texas Tribune

Story as heard on KUT 90.5

Over the last several legislative sessions, lawmakers have been focusing on increasing the rigor of high school courses. With the goal of getting every student ready to attend college. Some business leaders say that’s come at the expense of career and technical education.

Mario Lozoya is with Toyota Texas, whose plant is located in San Antonio. He told lawmakers on the Senate Education committee Tuesday the plant is "the high tech"  manufacturing facility in South Texas. Which is why he regularly visits Central Texas high schools to make sure automotive/tech students are being trained to meet the plant’s job skill requirements.

But, he said on many occasions, those expectations are not being met.

Read more
Politics
6:51 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Former House Education Chairman Lobbying for Pearson

State Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, talks with his colleagues about HB500 the education bill on April 6, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Former House Public Education Chairman Rob Eissler has taken on publishing and testing giant Pearson as a client, according to recent Ethics Commission filings.

The Republican from The Woodlands, who lost his seat in the 2012 Republican primary, is now an Austin lobbyist whose clients include the Harris County Department of Education and the Barbers Hill Independent School District.

Read more
Politics
4:25 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Bill Would Cut Back on Standardized Tests

The House education committee wants fewer tests for students.
Rune Mathisen, Texas Tribune

Texas high school students would have to take just five standardized tests to graduate instead of 15, under a bill filed today in the Texas House. State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock,  R-Killeen, says House Bill 5 would give students more flexibility to pursue vocational careers.

“Hoping that stimulates kids to find the areas that they find interesting and challenging in life, and that they begin to choose areas they want to go into, not necessarily areas the state’s trying to press them into,” Aycock said.

Read more
Education
9:30 am
Wed January 30, 2013

AISD STAAR Passing Rate Higher/Lower Than Statewide

AISD elementary school students had higher passing rates than the statewide rate but middle schoolers had lower passing rates.
Austin Feldman

Austin elementary school students performed strongly in the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exams. Middle schoolers didn't do quite as well.

Overall, the AISD passing rates for the STAAR—the standardized test that replaces the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS)—ranged from 82 percent in third and fourth grade reading to 58 percent in eighth grade social studies. Passing rates for most tests topped 70 percent.

Read more
Education
5:51 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Business Group Wants STAAR Revamped

Implementation of the STAAR test has hit some snags.
Jason Wiseman/Texas Tribune

A business lobbying group that’s been a big supporter of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR exams, has called for some changes, saying that the program may have gone overboard in trying to introduce accountability so quickly.

The Texas Association of Business wants to reduce the number of tests a high school senior needs to pass in order to graduate, and to push the entire program’s full implementation back three years.

Read more
Education
12:58 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Texas Education Commissioner Defers STAAR Grading Policy

Education Commissioner Michael Williams (left) deferred the STAAR requirement, a day after Gov. Perry (right) suggested so.
Williams photo Texas Education Agency; Perry photo Gage Skidmore

For the second year in a row, end of course exams won’t necessarily count toward 15 percent of a students’ final grade.

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams announced today that school districts will be allowed to apply for a waiver to the rule for the 2012-13 school year.

“You know we have to recognize that we are only in the second of the accountability system and the first year of testing,” Williams said. “There probably is some wisdom in saying, ‘Pump your brakes.’”

Read more
Education
4:12 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Perry: Let School Districts Decide on 15 Percent Rule

Shannan Muskopf/Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry is expressing his support for letting school districts themselves choose whether to implement a rule that requires new state assessments to count for 15 percent of high school students' final grades.

In a written statement Thursday — the first time the governor has publicly weighed in on the issue —  Perry praised legislation filed by state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, that would leave the decision up to local school districts. He also asked Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams to defer the state's rollout of the rule until the next school year.

Read more

Pages