May 1, 2014
TO THE SUPERINTENDENT ADDRESSED:
SUBJECT: State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) Transition to New Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Mathematics
The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the statewide curriculum standards, are reviewed and updated on a regular basis by the State Board of Education (SBOE). As revisions are made to the TEKS, changes are subsequently made to the assessment program to maintain a strong, direct, and effective link between the TEKS and the statewide assessments.
Revised TEKS in mathematics were adopted by the SBOE in April 2012. The revised TEKS for kindergarten–grade 8 will be implemented in classrooms, and therefore in the grades 3–8 assessment program, in the 2014–2015 school year. The revised TEKS for high school mathematics, including Algebra I and II, are expected to be implemented in classrooms and in the assessments in the 2015–2016 school year. Teachers across the state are required to teach the revised TEKS, and the state assessments will align to the TEKS that are required to be taught.
In the past the Texas Assessment Program has integrated changes to the TEKS in the state assessments using an "overlap year" approach for the first year of TEKS implementation. This approach worked well when the changes were minimal (e.g., during the prior rounds of mathematics refinements in 2005 and 2009) or when the assessment program has been in transition (e.g., TAKS to STAAR, as occurred during the 2009 science TEKS revisions and the 2010 social studies revisions).
The overlap in the algebra content between the current and the revised TEKS is fairly extensive. As a result, the shift in the STAAR Algebra I and II assessments to incorporate the revised algebra TEKS is not significant. Therefore, an overlap plan for assessing Algebra I and Algebra II in 2015–2016 is feasible. The tests will only assess the content that overlaps between the current and the revised TEKS in the first year the revised TEKS are required to be taught.
There are substantial challenges associated with implementation of the revised mathematics TEKS in the STAAR grades 3–8 assessments. Specifically, there is not sufficient overlap between the current and the revised TEKS at these grade levels to make the overlap approach feasible. Texas Education Agency (TEA) staff are currently working on a plan for assessing grades 3–8 mathematics in spring 2015. The plan will involve a special operational administration that incorporates the revised mathematics TEKS as indicated in the recently posted STAAR assessed curriculum documents and blueprints available on the STAAR Mathematics Resources webpage at: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/staar/math/.
For the spring 2015 STAAR grades 3–8 mathematics test administrations, students will receive a raw score (XX questions correct out of XX total questions) prior to the end of the school year based on their performance on the assessments. Then data from the spring administrations will be used to establish new performance standards for STAAR mathematics in summer 2015. The new performance standards will be retroactively applied to the spring 2015 administrations with new reports and data files sent to school districts in August 2015.
Because performance standards for STAAR grades 3–8 mathematics will not be set until after the spring 2015 administration, Student Success Initiative (SSI) retest opportunities for STAAR grades 5 and 8 mathematics will not be offered in May and June of 2015. For the 2014–2015 school year, districts will use other relevant academic information to make promotion/retention decisions for mathematics. This is similar to the approach used for SSI in spring 2012 for the first administration of STAAR. Please note that SSI will still be in effect for reading in 2014–2015.
TEA is considering options regarding state and federal accountability and performance-based monitoring. Once we have more information, we will share that with you.
Thank you for your continued commitment to the success of Texas students. If you have questions regarding the STAAR program, please call the Student Assessment Division at 512-463-9536. If you have questions regarding the revised TEKS for mathematics, call the Curriculum Division at 512-463-9581.
Commissioner of Education