Williams: Passing rates top 70 percent for most STAAR tests in grades 3-8

TEA News Release 2

TEA News Releases Online

Jan. 29, 2013


 Williams: Passing rates top 70 percent
for most STAAR tests in grades 3-8 

AUSTIN – Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams announced today that passing rates on most State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR™) tests for grades 3-8 topped 70 percent in 2012. The STAAR was given for the first time in Texas public and charter schools last spring.

Among the results for grades 3-8, the highest passing rates are seen on some 8th grade tests.  Eighty percent of eighth-grade students passed the STAAR reading test, 76 percent passed the STAAR mathematics test, and 70 percent passed the STAAR science test.

“We have set the bar higher with a more rigorous test, and our students and teachers are already on a path to meeting those higher expectations,” Commissioner Williams said. “I have no doubt results in future years will continue to improve but only if our state elects to keep the focus on educating every child in every classroom in every district across Texas.”

According to results compiled by the Texas Education Agency, the subject area with the highest STAAR passing rate at each grade level includes:

  • 3rd Grade: Reading (76%)
  • 4th Grade: Reading (77%)
  • 5th Grade: Reading (77%) and Mathematics (77%)
  • 6th Grade: Mathematics (77%)
  • 7th Grade: Reading (76%)
  • 8th Grade: Reading (80%)

Commissioner Williams noted the passing percentages for all areas (except three) are at 70 percent or better. The lowest passing rate (59%) occurred on the 8th grade social studies test could be attributed to the inclusion of new social studies curriculum content, as well as the use of more primary sources in test questions than occurred previously on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).

“I recognize there has been a lot of anxiety surrounding STAAR tests, but I believe these are encouraging passing rates for the first year of a new more rigorous test,” Commissioner Williams said. “Clearly, we still have work to do, but I remain optimistic that passing rates will rise this spring in the second administration of STAAR, just as they have traditionally done in the second year of a new testing program.”

Following are passing rates for the Grade 3-8 assessments.


Passing Rates for 2012 STAAR
Grades 3-8






Social Studies
























–  STAAR not required for grade level


As with the high school STAAR tests, passing standards are being phased in for the elementary and middle school tests using a four-year, two-step process. This approach provides school districts with time to adjust instruction, provide additional training for teachers, and close knowledge gaps.

Although students first took the STAAR tests last spring, the passing standards were not finalized until recently for grades 3-8. State law required the passing rates to be set on the high school end-of-course exams first, with the standards for tests in lower grades aligned to those standards. Passing standards for the end-of-course assessments were established last spring.

For spring 2013 testing, results will be released on the normal schedule, which is typically by the end of the school year.

Additional information about grades 3-8 results can be found on the STAAR resources webpage at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/staar/ under the statewide summary reports link. A question and answer document and technical details about the standard setting process are also available on that page.