Recent legislation (HB 3906) eliminated the stand-alone writing assessments in grades 4 and 7 beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.  TEA announced the transition plan for the Reading Language Arts assessment in a recent letter

According to TEA, grades 4 and 7 writing assessments will remain unchanged for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. During this time, new writing items that assess revising and editing will be field tested in the reading assessments for grades 3–8. These items will be embedded in the assessments and will have no accountability measure. Additionally, TEA will provide examples of writing items for grades 3, 5, 6 and 8 to help educators prepare students for the new item types.

Since the federal Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states assess the full breadth of the reading language arts curriculum, which includes writing, the Texas Reading Language Arts TEKS were revised in 2017 to support an integrated approach to the teaching of reading and writing. The transition timeline included in TEA’s recent announcement of the RLA assessment transition plan will allow educators to adjust instruction to integrate reading, writing, listening and speaking as required in the 2017 standards before students are assessed on all new or revised content.

TEA also announced that in fall 2019, it will solicit input from educators regarding the assessed curriculum related to the 2017 RLA TEKS and draft blueprints for assessment of the 2017 TEKS. TEA will also solicit feedback from educators on the most effective ways to assess the 2017 RLA TEKS, including selection of grade-level appropriate passages and ways to more authentically assess writing. Since HB 3906 also provides that, beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, an assessment cannot include more than 75% of questions in multiple choice format, TEA stated in its letter that educators will also be asked to provide feedback on implementation of this statutorily required limitation on multiple choice items on the state assessment.

Finally, TEA advised that during the RLA assessment transition, grades 3–8 reading, grades 4 and 7 writing, and English I and English II EOC assessment results will continue to be included in calculations for 2020 and 2021 accountability and that accountability advisory groups will provide the commissioner with recommendations on potential unforeseen consequences.