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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...."

What Follows Five Years of Failure at Mendez Middle School?
Making the grade
News Story  August 30, 2018, by Austin Sanders
"...Two weeks ago, when the Texas Education Agency released district and campus scores as part of its new A-F accountability system, five schools in the Austin Independent School District received failing grades. That designation for one such school, Rosedale, at 49th Street and Burnet Road, was particularly galling for district officials, who argued it should never have been rated: The school services students with severe special needs, and many are unable to even give answers on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exams that are a major component in establishing campus grades..."

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..."

T.A. Brown and Menchaca: From the Ground Up
New beginnings for two elementary schools
News Story  September 6, 2018, by Austin Sanders
"...Brown Principal Veronica Sharp talked Wednesday about a "more holistic" learning experience, with an outdoor classroom, community garden, and maybe even some goats under the students' care. She said a more hands-on, "problem-based learning" approach would help students succeed academically and culturally, and the school's "working on balancing" that approach with achieving successful STAAR results..."

Lege Lines: Elsewhere Under the Dome
Rounding up the news left on the chamber floors
News Story  April 20, 2017, by Mary Tuma and the News Staff
"...Long overdue recognition! The Texas Parents' Educa­tional Rights Network this week named Austin Cham­ber of Commerce VP Drew Scheberle their Jerk of the Week for his "amazing show of arrogance, snobbery and general jackassery" in being the only speaker at the Senate Education Committee to speak against SB 463, which would make permanent the very successful Individual Graduation Committees which are empow­ered to let students who fail one or two end-of-course STAAR exams graduate with their class if they meet all other criteria and apply to the committee with a project or portfolio of work. Scheberle, a longtime booster of standardized testing, said specifically that he couldn't support giving a diploma to a student who failed one STAAR test, but has gone on to post a 3.6 GPA in college...."

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...."

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