Another Move to Placate Critics of State Testing Regime

Commissioner of Education Michael Williams has made another administrative move to reduce pressure for change in the current state testing regime. On March 12 he announced a plan to release in August the 2013 STAAR exams that are being used this spring in grades 3-8 and the 15 end-of-course exams used in high school. Said Williams: “As we have rolled out the STAAR assessments, some have viewed the inability to see the actual tests as a reason to invalidate the entire process. I have heard those concerns and am accelerating the release of all the assessments while maintaining the validity of results for the upcoming spring administration.”

The Texas Education Agency advises that the STAAR Modified assessment is not part of this accelerated release. It will be released in 2014, as previously scheduled.

Parents testifying against the state’s testing system last week are not likely to be placated by the commissioner’s plan to release the tests for public scrutiny in the summer, after the legislature has gone home. Parent advocates want the legislature to scrutinize the tests now—and some lawmakers are of the same mind as they grapple with decisions about the future of the state’s test-based approach to accountability.