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Data Integrity Issues Plague STAAR Testing
Education commissioner cancels June retest dates
News Story  June 16, 2016, by Richard Whittaker
"...Instead, he is going full bore after their shared nemeses in the testing industry. On June 10, Morath announced that ongoing problems with the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readi­ness (STAAR) tests provided by ETS have reached such dire levels that he was removing the requirements for students to pass reading and math at grades five and eight, and canceling the retesting scheduled for June 21-22...."

STAAR Falls on Texas Schools
Academic assessment tests raises questions of fairness
News Story  June 22, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...Educators, parents, and policymakers around the state have been stunned by disappointing results in the first State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, aka STAAR tests. The big question that now plagues Texas educators is simple: Are the test and benchmarks wrong, or are school districts working from the wrong curriculum?..."

Abbott's STAAR Idea
Gubernatorial hopefuls battle it out over education plans
News Story  April 18, 2014, by Richard Whittaker
"...That was a lesson learned by Attorney General Greg Abbott when his Democratic gubernatorial opponent, Sen. Wendy Davis, accused Abbott of supporting "baby STAAR" tests for 4-year-olds..."

Not the Brightest STAAR
Under pressure from lawmakers, education commissioner defers 15% grading system
News Story  February 24, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...On Feb. 17, Scott announced, "I am modifying the Texas Education Agency's [STAAR] Transition Plan." As a result, the TEA will allow school districts and charter schools to suspend the 15% grading system – under which the end-of-course STAAR tests will count for 15% of a student's graduating score – for the 2011-12 school year..."

No Quick Answers on STAAR Glitch
District and state officials remain in the dark on STAAR malfunction
News Story  April 14, 2016, by Richard Whittaker
"...When Education Testing Service took over administering Texas STAAR tests, it was supposed to be an end to the state's difficult and overly close relationship with testing behemoth Pearson. Now the ETS and the Texas Educa­tion Agency are dealing with the fallout from the failure of this new online testing system...."

TEA Delays 'End of Course' Requirement Another Year
15% rule punted for another year
DAILY News  November 30, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...The beleaguered and widely criticized STAAR testing system takes another hit today as Commissioner of Education Michael Williams announced that the 15% rule – whereby the end of course tests will count for 15% of a student's graduation requirements – will be pushed back another year...."

A Declaration of Independence
Zavala Elementary and Principal Sean Fox are succeeding at going their own way
News Story  May 8, 2014, by Richard Whittaker
"...The numbers speak for themselves. Between 2012 and 2013, the percentage of students passing STAAR statewide in all subjects at Level II or above stayed static at 77%..."

Changing Course
AISD shifts to community-based model for prepping younger kids for college
News Story  September 9, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...For the reforms to be truly effective, they cannot be restricted just to Reagan and LBJ – especially since the state is shaking up the high school testing system again. Over at Travis High, counselor Roy Larson is preparing for the new school year knowing that the incoming freshman class will be the first to face the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR tests..."

Bill of the Week: Down With Tests, Up With Standards?
Bipartisan starting point for school graduation reform
DAILY News  January 26, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...On Jan 24, the pair unveiled Senate Bill 240 and House Bill 640, creating what Van de Putte says will create "a dynamic college- and workforce-readiness accountability system." It starts by completely overhauling the dreaded STAAR tests, and, most pressingly for families, taking the emphasis off the end of course exams. To do this, they would make several radical changes:..."

The Smartest Kids in the Room
Hint: It may not be the AISD board of trustees
DAILY News  April 29, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"..."This week, as in many schools, we are uprooting our academic schedule to spend a couple of days on STAAR testing. At Kealing we only take a week at best off for STAAR testing, whereas at other schools they spend weeks if not months preparing for the STAAR test...."

Students With Learning Disabilities Should not be Punished
Postmarks  June 27, 2012
"...Dear Editor, At last Tuesday’s public education hearing at the state Capitol, Rep. Mark Strama was the sole committee member in support of a rule that would call for high school end-of-course exams to count as 15% of final grades for students ["STAAR Falls on Texas Schools," News, June 22]..."

Top 10 Education Stories
School finance lawsuits, AISD board shakeup, and more
News Story  January 4, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...6) Fading STAAR Will STAAR blink out? If the old TAKS tests weren't bad enough, the new State of Texas Assessments of Aca­demic Readiness have been an unqualified disaster, with lawmakers giving schools a year off accountability reporting, and the Texas Education Agency suspending the "15% rule," linking graduation requirements to end-of-course tests, for the second year in a row...."

Scott Quitting Texas Education Agency
Controversial schools commissioner to leave July 2
DAILY News  May 1, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...However, for many, Scott's legacy as commissioner will be one of carnage. Under his tenure, financing was allowed to dwindle (not his fault, but he did little to stop it) and he oversaw the disastrously inept introduction of the STAAR test..."

Education: 'It's Time To Be Innovative'
Something everyone can agree on: digital classrooms
News Story  March 16, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...Yet some education advocates say her firm deserves a failing grade: After all, Pear­son currently holds a five-year, $500 million contract with the state of Texas for the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness program. The implementation has been a catastrophe (see "Not the Brightest STAAR," Feb..."

The Luv Doc: Testing
Like it or not, you are always being graded – not by your words, but by your actions
Columns  August 11, 2016, by The Luv Doc
"...He probably didn't know he was taking a test, but here's the ugly secret about relationships that everyone wants to ignore: Every single second of your interaction with other human beings is a test. It might not be the GRE, the SAT, or even the STAAR (and shouldn't that be spelled correctly, acronym or not?) but it might be a pop quiz..."

Building a Path to Literacy
Educators and nonprofits work to close the achievement gap in Dove Springs
News Story  April 7, 2016, by Sam Anderson-Ramos
"...One of the challenges facing the neighborhood is literacy. Dove Springs' Consuelo Mendez Middle School is on the Texas Education Agency's 2015 list of schools where "improvement is required." The number of AISD students who performed at "Satis­fac­tory Standard or Above" in State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing for reading was 79%..."

Abbott Turns Open Records into Campaign Stunt
Meanwhile Davis savages Republican over "Baby STAAR" pre-K tests
DAILY News  April 14, 2014, by Richard Whittaker
"...After starting her campaign on the back foot, Davis is now on the offensive, pummeling Abbott for an education plan that she argues adds STAAR-like testing for four year olds. She'll be in Austin today, hammering that point home...."

Top 10 Quotes of the Week
Notable quotables of 2012
News Story  January 4, 2013
"...– Education Austin President Ken Zarifis, condemning AISD for running summer STAAR test "boot camps" (June 21)..."

Standardized Testing in Lege Limbo
STAAR results prompt discussion of retesting requirements
News Story  June 22, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...Ever since the first round of preliminary STAAR test results were released on June 8, Texas parents have worried about whether their child should go through the stress of retesting. The House Public Education Committee put the same question to the Texas Education Agency on June 19 as they analyzed the latest iteration of standardized testing in Texas..."

Top 10 Education Stories
Edukayshun 'r' us
News Story  January 6, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...5) No Gold STAAR at TEA Teachers had been expecting the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness for five years. Yet by the beginning of the school year, the Texas Education Agency had failed to provide even the simplest outlines, leaving them teaching to a test no one had seen...."

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