On Thursday, the Texas Education Agency released end-of-course STAAR results for assessments in Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and U.S History. Texas high school students are demonstrating improvement in three areas: Algebra I, Biology, and U.S. History—with scores rising but still below pre-pandemic levels. English I and English II results stayed generally consistent from last school year and showed no negative impact due to the pandemic. TEA encourages parents to log in and learn more about their child’s results by going to TexasAssessment.gov.
TEA argues that recent laws passed by the Legislature are positive tools that support the positive gains from Texas students. Notably, the TEA credits HB 4545, which entitles students either to receive thirty hours of targeted tutoring before, during, or after school for each subject in which they did not pass the corresponding STAAR assessment, or to be assigned to a classroom overseen by a certified master, exemplary, or recognized teacher. Texas AFT continues to have concerns about HB 4545’s provisions, which have burdened districts trying to meet the requirements while also requiring otherwise good students into disruptive accelerated learning because they have lackluster standardized test scores. With recent legislative hearings on HB 4545, it’s clear that the law will be up for closer examination and possible tweaks in the next legislative session.
Texas AFT, which called for cancellation of the STAAR test for the past two years, maintains that the STAAR test is ineffective at measuring student growth and assisting educators even in times without pandemic disruptions. STAAR forms the foundation of a test-and-punish accountability system that pushes districts to privatize schools by forcing them to turn campuses over to charter chains. TEA also re-launched its flawed A-F rating system this year.