Earlier this year, the Texas legislature passed House Bill (HB) 743 by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Humble), which among other things required that certain state standardized assessments (STAAR tests) be developed such that 85 percent of third through fifth graders will finish an assessment in not more than two hours and 85 percent of sixth through eighth graders will finish in not more than three hours. Prior to this week, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) had taken a position that only the writing test, which is presently being redeveloped anyway, would be able to be shortened in order to meet the requirements of the bill for the current school year.
This prompted a group of stakeholders that included ATPE and was led by Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment (TAMSA) to convene with Rep. Huberty’s office to discuss implementation of HB 743. Following that meeting, Huberty continued to work with Commissioner of Education Michael Williams to find ways to expedite implementation of the bill’s goal to reduce the testing burden on Texas students.
Today, the commissioner sent a letter to Texas superintendents detailing temporary measures that will be taken this year to decrease the length of the various STAAR tests, which will primarily include removing field testing items from the tests. Additionally, the agency formally announced that they will be using this year’s STAAR administration to study how long students are currently taking to complete the tests in order to guide the agency with future test development that meets the requirements of HB 743.