TEA announced in an Aug. 21, 2014, letter to administrators that it will delay increasing STAAR performance standards. The initial performance standards for STAAR will again be used in the 2014-15 school year.

The reasons cited for the delay are the many recent changes impacting the STAAR program: implementation of the new math TEKS, elimination of the STAAR Modified and introduction of STAAR Accommodated, and the first administration of the redesigned STAAR Alternate.

TEA also announced that it will propose, through commissioner of education rules, changes to the existing plan to phase in performance standards for STAAR grades 3-8 and end-of-course assessment programs.

The existing plan is being adjusted from two steps to three steps to allow for smaller, incremental movements toward the final performance standards. New performance standards will be established for the second phase-in and the newly established third phase-in prior to moving to the final recommended performance standards.

The timeline for the new three-step phase-in plan is as follows:

  • The current phase-in 1 performance standards will be maintained for 2014-15.
  • The new phase-in 2 performance standards will be implemented in 2015-16.
  • The new phase-in 3 performance standards will be implemented in 2018-19.
  • The final recommended performance standards will be implemented in 2021-22.

The current policy on the way in which STAAR EOC performance standards are determined for each student will remain unchanged. Current Texas Administrative Code Section 101.3022, Assessment Requirements for Graduation, specifies that the standard in place when a student first takes an EOC assessment is the standard that will be maintained throughout the student's school career.

For example, if a student takes the STAAR Algebra I assessment in grade 7 or grade 8 at the phase-in 1 standard, all other EOC assessments required for graduation will be scored at the phase-in 1 standards for that student (even if the standards increase during the student's high school career).

The primary reason for the change in the phase-in plan is to provide additional time for educators to adjust instruction to align with the more rigorous TEKS measured by the STAAR program. Additional time is being provided by:

  • maintaining phase-in 1 for an additional year due to significant changes to the assessment program in 2014-15
  • including a three-step phase-in to allow for smaller incremental movements toward the final recommended performance standards and
  • lengthening each phase-in to allow time for students to benefit from adjustments in instruction

TCTA supports the delay, given all the changes being made to the STAAR program. Part of Texas' success in being able to consistently increase standards and rigor in the state curriculum and testing system is due to the phasing in of performance standards in an incremental fashion that encourages educators and students to stretch but, at the same time, makes reaching the goal attainable.

Learn more about the STAAR performance standards.