The STAAR program includes assessments for students receiving special education services. STAAR A and STAAR Alternate assessments are available. The STAAR A assessment reflect the same increased rigor and focus of the general assessments and include more rigorous item types. STAAR Alternate incorporates a vertical alignment in the program's assessment tasks.
The Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee will decide which State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) assessment a student served through special education programs should take based on his/her abilities and eligibility requirements. Individual ARD committees will continue to consider the needs of each student and select additional accommodations and supplemental aids that are necessary to support the student’s success during assessment.
All students served through special education programs must have access to grade-level curriculum. Students targeted for a modified exam will either receive instruction within the general education classroom with modified expectations or be provided instruction in a special education setting. These options are decided by the ARD committee. Students taking a modified assessment will receive modifications and accommodations intended to support their success. More information about the STAAR modified assessments can be found below.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) designed the STAAR Alternate 2 to assess students in grades 3–8 and high school who have significant cognitive disabilities and are receiving special education services. TEA has established student participation requirements for the STAAR Alternate 2 assessments, which are available at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/special-ed/staaralt/ Students will continue to perform standardized assessment tasks linked to the grade-level Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) that measure student progress on skills aligned with the academic grade-level content standards.
STAAR Accommodated, also known as STAAR A, will be an electronic test with embedded accommodations. A student must meet STAAR A Eligibility Requirements established by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for each applicable subject-area assessment in order to take STAAR A. Eligibility criteria for STAAR A is available at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/STAARA/
The STAAR A assessments will cover the same content as the general STAAR assessments, but will provide accommodations in test design. For example, STAAR A may include vocabulary assistance, highlighting options, text-to-speech, and zoom-in features.
STAAR A assessments will be developed for all content areas for grades 3-8 that are part of the general STAAR program and for STAAR end-of-course (EOC) assessments. Since STAAR A requires the use of computers and headphones, students should participate in online tutorials to become familiar with the tools and features of the assessment. Student tutorials will be available at http://texasassessment.com/administrations/STAAR-A/resources/
TEA is expanding testing policies to include high school students with dyslexia and other similar reading disabilities. Students will be allowed to take the STAAR/EOC English I and II assessments as well as the STAAR grades 3-8 reading assessments with accommodations, such as the oral reading of item stems/answer options and extended time. Individual 504 committees will continue to consider the needs of each student and select accommodations that are necessary to support the student’s success during assessment.
Dyslexic students may qualify for an accommodated version of the test. See the section "Will there be a STAAR Accommodated test?" for more details.
English Language Learners (ELLs) represent a diverse group of students who know English in varying degrees when they enter U.S. schools. It takes a number of years for a student who does not know English upon entry to U.S. schools to become fluent and able to use English effectively and independently in academic settings.
ELLs participate in state assessments in several ways based on participation criteria, which is available on the Texas Education Agency website. Under the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), ELLs could take regular tests in English, a Spanish version of STAAR in grades 3-5, a STAAR test with linguistic accommodations (STAAR L), the STAAR Modified test or the STAAR Alternate assessment.
ELLs also participate in the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS), a federally-required program that provides an annual measure of student progress in learning the English language. Student performance on TELPAS may also determine the student’s eligibility for particular STAAR assessments.
As of August 2, 2013, TEA has notified districts that ELL students who meet special provisions will be required to take the English I EOC exam but will not be required to pass it in order to meet graduation requirements. ELLs who qualify will be required to pass the English II EOC exam to meet graduation requirements. Read more about the Commissioner's proposed rules from August 2, 2013 by clickcing the following link:
Spanish versions of STAAR for grades 3-5 are available for each grade and subject assessed by the STAAR English versions. The Spanish versions are comparable to the English-version tests in content, rigor, and achievement standards.