Tyler ISD assessment tests slated this week
Several hundred Tyler ISD high school students are taking state assessments this week after failing to pass the exams last spring.
TISD is among school districts statewide administering the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness at the high school level this week and next.
Dr. Karen Raney, TISD's director of assessment and accountability, said the majority of TISD students taking the exams are 10th-graders, who previously took them last spring as ninth-graders.
Students are taking only the exam or exams that they didn't pass, which could include English 1 writing and reading, world geography, algebra and biology tests.
Although students could have taken the tests again in July, many of them chose not to, Dr. Raney said.
The STAAR was first administered in Texas public schools last year. It replaced the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS, which was the statewide assessment program since 2003.
Third- through eighth-graders and high school students take the STAAR. At the high school level, the STAAR comprises 15 end-of-course exams taken during their high school career.
These include English 1-3, reading and writing, algebra 1, 2 and geometry; biology, chemistry and physics; world geography, world history and U.S. history.
Students must meet certain score standards on each end-of-course exam as well as a certain cumulative score in each content area, such as math or science, to meet graduation requirements, according to the TEA website.
Students have received a break in one area of the new program.
A state requirement that called for end-of-course exams to count as 15 percent of a student's final course grade has been deferred once again this year.
Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams announced last week he is deferring the rule to relieve "some of the pressure being felt in Texas districts as we continue the transition to a more rigorous accountability system," according to a Texas Education Agency news release.
Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick sent letters to Williams urging him to defer implementation of the rule, according to the news release.
The state leaders indicated the rule would be discussed during the upcoming legislative session.
School districts still can choose to implement the rule if they want to.
Because the tests are being phased in, only those students taking ninth- and 10th-grade courses will take the end-of-course exams this year.
Most students will take them in the spring because that is when they complete their courses for the year.
Dr. Raney said the testing process from an administrative standpoint is much more simplified with the end-of-course exams.
Most of the retesting is conducted online, and the state has simplified the procedures for paper testing.
She said with each test administration, educators learn things that were unclear and revise training to reflect that.