Math Sessions

Thursday, September 15, 2016

SUBJECT: Important Changes to the Texas Assessment Program for the 2016–2017 School Year

Additional Flexibility Available in Online Administrations to Begin in March 2017
Beginning with the March 2017 administration of STAAR, students with disabilities and English language learners (ELLs) who are eligible for testing accommodations may receive those accommodations through an enhanced online version of STAAR. In addition to three types of embedded accommodations (text-to-speech, language and vocabulary supports, and content supports) that can be assigned on an individual student basis, the online version of STAAR will include enhanced accessibility features that are available to all students. These enhancements will allow all students to take the same online test form and eliminate the need for separate STAAR A and STAAR L test forms going forward. Therefore, STAAR A and STAAR L will both be administered for the last time in December 2016. This change also allows districts who choose to do so, to administer all grades and subjects of the general STAAR (English version only) tests online to any or all of their students.
Within the next several days, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) will provide districts with preliminary guidance regarding students with disabilities whose individualized education programs (IEPs) or Section 504 plans reflect that they are to take STAAR A in spring 2017. As language proficiency assessment committee (LPAC) decisions are made in the spring of the school year, changes regarding STAAR L will be discussed in the LPAC Guide to Decision Making that will be released in December 2016. In addition, TEA will hold a TETN in late September to discuss these changes in greater detail.
Districts will begin to receive information this fall on how the changes will affect registration, online testing, scoring, and reporting. Districts will have opportunities to attend training on the changes to the STAAR Assessment Management System and the STAAR Online Testing Platform.
Prior to the spring 2017 administration of STAAR end-of-course (EOC) assessments, TEA intends to update the allowable substitute assessments and cut scores that can be used in place of the STAAR EOCs to meet graduation requirements. TEA is examining the degree of content overlap between the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and the following national tests:
·         the SAT suite of assessments (PSAT 8/9, 10, NMSQT, and the SAT)
·         the ACT and the ACT Aspire

After completion of the content overlap studies, TEA will determine what tests will be allowed as substitute assessments for graduation, along with the score requirement for each approved substitute.
Regarding the ACT, SAT, and PSAT, current Texas Administrative Code reflects those tests administered prior to the 2015–2016 school year. TEA anticipates no changes for the other currently approved substitutes (AP, IB, PLAN, and the TSI assessment).  
The STAAR Confidential Student Reports (CSRs) will be redesigned this fall, and the new reports will be available beginning with the spring 2017 STAAR administrations.
In order to comply with the mandates of House Bill 743, the STAAR assessments will be shortened so that 85 percent of students will be able to complete the assessment instrument within two hours in grades 3–5 and within three hours in grades 6–8. The STAAR assessments will include both operational and field-test items.
In August 2017, TEA will release the primary form of all 2017 STAAR general assessments.  All released tests will be posted on TEA’s Student Assessment Division website.

In order to minimize the amount of time raters spend in training and preparing to rate TELPAS listening and speaking, TEA is working with stakeholders to redesign the TELPAS listening and speaking assessments for implementation in 2017–2018. This year, TEA will conduct a pilot study of the new TELPAS listening and speaking assessments during the testing window for 2017 TELPAS reading. Information obtained from the pilot study will inform test development and administration policy decisions going forward. TEA will be accepting volunteers to participate in the pilot study. Districts will receive additional information in late September about the process of volunteering for the pilot study. If the volunteer sample is not representative, it may be necessary to select additional campuses for the pilot study. 

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