November 2021 Committee on School Finance/Permanent School Fund Item 1

Approval of Costs to Administer the 2021–2022 State-Developed Assessments to Private School Students

November 19, 2021


SUMMARY: Texas Education Code, §39.033, allows a private school to voluntarily assess its students with the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) and the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) assessments. The State Board of Education (SBOE) must approve the per-student cost to private schools, which may not exceed the cost of administering the same assessment to a student enrolled in a public school district. This item requests approval of these costs for the 2021–2022 school year.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §39.033.

TEC, §39.033 permits, through an agreement with the Texas Education Agency (TEA), private schools to administer adopted assessment instruments if private schools reimburse TEA the cost for administering the assessment. The per-student cost of administering adopted assessments is determined by the SBOE.

The full text of statutory citations can be found in the statutory authority section of this agenda.

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: In November 2020, the SBOE approved the costs of administering the STAAR and TELPAS assessments to private school students for the 2020–2021 school year.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION: Since the spring 1996 test administration, private schools, including home schools, have been eligible to participate on a voluntary basis in the Texas assessment program. During the 2020–2021 school year, participation in these voluntary assessments for grades 3 through 12 involved 17 private schools and 2,558 students. Attachment II lists the 2020–2021 participating private schools.

Under TEC, §39.033, private schools that administer the tests must enter into an agreement with TEA. The agreement requires private schools, as determined appropriate by the commissioner of education, to provide the commissioner the information listed in TEC, §39.053(c) and §39.301(c), which includes information to be used as indicators of academic performance, and to maintain confidentiality as required under TEC, §39.030. Private schools that participate in the assessments must provide reimbursement for the cost of administering the assessments, which may not exceed the per-student cost of administering the same assessment to a student enrolled in a public school district. In addition, participating private schools must agree to test all eligible students and to administer the primary form of all subject-area tests available for a particular grade.

A critical component of the contract with private schools is the per-student cost for each instrument, which must be determined by the SBOE. Attachment I displays the recommended per-student cost for each test that will be available to private schools in the 2021–2022 school year. These figures were derived by taking the costs from the agency's contracts for development and administration of the spring 2022 tests and dividing by the maximum number of tests that will be administered in spring 2022. Using this method for determining the per-student cost ensures that the cost for assessing a private school student will not exceed the per-student cost for administering the same test to a public-school student. Costs cover developing tests and ancillary materials; printing, packaging, and shipping test materials; scoring tests; and reporting results.

FISCAL IMPACT: The figures provided in Attachment I cover the costs of administering the STAAR and TELPAS assessments. There are no additional fiscal implications.

DATA AND REPORTING IMPACT: Private schools choosing to administer the statewide tests must agree to follow standard procedures for test administration, maintain security and confidentiality, and report to the commissioner their test results and other information outlined in TEC, §39.053(c) and §39.301(c).

MOTION TO BE CONSIDERED: The State Board of Education:

Approve the recommended per-student costs for administering the state assessments to private school students in the 2021–2022 school year as listed in Attachment I.

Staff Members Responsible:
Iris Tian, Division Director, Student Assessment
Julie Cole, Director of Policy and Publications, Student Assessment

Attachment I:
Recommended Private School Costs for the 2021–2022 School Year

Attachment II:
Private School Participation List for Spring 2021 Administrations