Texas launched a new testing program called the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness or STAAR® in 2012. It replaces the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). Information on this webpage is designed to provide basic information for reporters and school district communications staff members who will be writing and broadcasting stories about STAAR.
STAAR is given to students in grades 3-8 and to students taking high school level courses in Algebra I, English I and II, U. S. History and biology. Although previously given as separate tests, the English exams are now a combined reading and writing test. The testing calendar shows the tests given and the dates they will be given.
Brochures - Brochures, available in English and Spanish, provide basic information for parents about the general testing program and the End of Course assessments.
STAAR comparison chart - The STAAR is available in a variety of formats to serve students who are in the general education program, the special education program or who are English language learners. STAAR comparison chart (PDF)
How were the passing standards for the tests set? - A frequently asked questions document explains the standard setting process.
What were the passing rates on the tests? The latest statewide and local test results are now available.
STAAR vs. TAKS
Differences between STAAR and TAKS - STAAR is a more rigorous testing program. It emphasizes "readiness" standards, which are the knowledge and skills that are considered most important for success in the grade or course subject that follows and for college and career. STAAR will contain more test questions at most grades than did TAKS assessments. The high school assessments will move from grade-based tests to course-based exams. For the first time, the state's assessments will have a time limit. Students will have four hours to complete each exam.
Can we see the test?
STAAR is a secure test, so it cannot be reviewed before it is given. However, the Texas Education Agency periodically publicly releases previous versions of the test, which can be reviewed.
Changes to the testing program
The Texas student testing program began in 1980 with the first administration of the Texas Assessment of Basic Skills. The testing program has expanded over the years due to federal and state requirements. STAAR represents the fifth generation of the testing program. Each new generation has been more rigorous than the one before it. Sample test questions (PDF, 566 KB) from the various state testing programs illustrate the increasing rigor of the program over the past three decades. A timeline details the changes to the program since its inception.
Testing calendar - Testing calendars for multiple years are available on the Student Assessment website.
Total number of mandatory testing days - Students will typically spend two to five days out of the 180-day school year taking the STAAR tests. Additional testing days will be available for students who must pass the test to be promoted to the next grade or to graduate from high school.
Assessment letters to districts
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