More Rigorous STAAR Standards Delayed to 2021

Texas education officials have given schools five more years for students to meet more rigorous standards before entering high school, according to a Texas Education Agency report released Aug. 21.

Without the postponement, the numbers of students failing the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, exams next spring likely would have jumped notably.

The Texas Education Agency pushed back the deadline from 2016 to 2021, The Dallas Morning News reported, meaning today's first-graders won't be subject to the new STAAR exams until reaching the eighth grade.

Texas Senate education committee members questioned last week the agency's lack of progress in implementing the more rigorous standards.

"I do think that what we have done as a state is to say we have raised the bar significantly, and we are charging districts and their staffs to jump to that level," Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams said.

Williams and colleague Gloria Zyskowski have said poor teaching is to blame for students' flat performance on the statewide exams.

Dawson Orr, superintendent of the Highland Park Independent School District, testified during the education committee hearing that the STAAR exams do not reflect students' potential to achieve.

According to the Texas Education Agency, had the 2014 students needed to meet the top standards, more than half would have failed every test. The results would have been more extreme for black and Hispanic students.

"I look at that and say I don't have confidence in that STAAR data as measuring college readiness," Orr said. "It's a flawed design."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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