Optional Beginning-of-Year Assessments for 2020-2021

Date:  July 9, 2020
Subject: Optional Beginning-of-Year Assessments for 2020-2021
Category: Student Assessment
Next Steps:  Please share with district and campus administrators


The purpose of this TAA is to inform superintendents and campus administrators about the optional beginning-of-year assessments. 

Beginning of Year Assessments 

Assessments are a valuable tool to monitor student progress and measure student understanding of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). As a result of COVID-19 and the cancellation of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) for the 2019–2020 school year, optional beginning-of-year (BOY) assessments will be offered to school districts and parents to help indicate student understanding of the TEKS from the previous school year. The data will help educators develop appropriate instructional plans this fall to address any gaps in student learning resulting from the previous school year’s disruption of classroom instruction and from the summer break. 

The BOY assessments have been built using released STAAR test questions. While the optional BOY assessments will be administered in early fall 2020, they are, as noted above, designed to diagnose understanding of the TEKS from the previous school year. Therefore, the BOY assessments should be administered to students in grades 4–12, based on their prior year enrolled grade level or course. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will not use data from the BOY assessments for any accountability purposes. Data will only be used to determine the educational impact of the current crisis and to spread best practices. 



July 14, 2020, 9AM-Noon (Central)

Webinar on BOY Optional Assessments https://zoom.us/j/92067620791

July 20–September 18, 2020

Districts register students

July 27–September 25, 2020

Testing administration window


Parents will have the option to register their students independently, should a district choose not to participate. More information about the parent registration window will available soon. 

Other Assessment Resources for the 2020–2021 School Year 

The BOY assessments are one of many optional assessment resources that will be available to support districts and educators in the 2020–2021 school year. 





Beginning-of-Year (BOY) Assessments

New, optional assessments created in response to COVID-19 and the cancellation of STAAR

Once at the beginning of the school year

  • Gauge where students are in their understanding of the TEKS as they begin the school year
  • Measure gaps in student learning arising from the COVID-19 disruption to instruction

STAAR Interim Assessments 

Optional interim assessments that mirror the blueprint of the STAAR and are administered on the same platform as STAAR 


Once or twice a year: recommended in November and February

  • Monitor student progress
  • Predict student performance on the STAAR 
  • Identify students for intervention 

Texas Formative Assessment Resource 


New, optional, online tool consisting of a TEKS-aligned item bank, test-builder, and data reports 


Frequently throughout the year 


  • Supplement existing teacher formative assessment practices 
  • Support teachers in building and administering classroom quizzes to inform and adjust instruction 



More information will be available shortly on updates to the existing STAAR interim assessments and the new Texas Formative Assessment Resource. 

If you have any questions regarding the BOY assessments, please submit your questions via the Student Assessment HelpDesk

Texas Education Agency 

Student Assessment Division