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STAAR Students

Texas students graduating with the class of 2015 and beyond will be STAAR-approved—that is, students must pass a new generation of assessment testing called the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR). The new exams are set to replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests in 2012.

The biggest change in the new assessment exams is the way the tests are designed. “With TAKS, the tests were designed from the third-grade level and up … with STAAR, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is building the test from the upper grades and down—focusing specifically on what skills are needed for college readiness,” explains Debbie Ratcliffe, communications director with the TEA.

“Students have begun, in many cases, to top out on TAKS,” Ratcliffe says. “High-achieving students need the bar raised. By focusing the tests on the skills needed to succeed in college, that means that schools will be focused on teaching those skills. In the end, the goal is to make our students more college-ready.” Ratcliffe adds that the TEA has support plans to ensure the success of struggling students, as well.