The Texas state legislature recently voted to pass House Bill 3906, which ‘addresses several components related to assessments and administration.’ Written with input from actual educators and designed to provide more flexibility at the campus level when administering tests, HB 3906 should be a positive step forward for Texas education.
Here’s a guide to all of the main changes that have come from this new bill, including the most important impacts it will have on teachers.
Redesigned STAAR Assessment
At the center of HB3906 is a complete redesign of STAAR assessments, or the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. In the following section, we’ll summarize some of the most important changes and the way they’ll affect educators moving forward.
Transition to Online
By the 2022-2023 school year, all STAAR assessments will be required to be administered online. The reasoning behind the shift to online assessments includes the ability for students to receive the kinds of accommodations they might receive in a classroom setting. Online testing will also allow for faster test results and streamlined operations when it comes to the actual process of administering the test. Finally, online assessments will make non-multiple-choice questions possible, which leads into the next significant change in the STAAR assessment redesign— new types of questions.
*Note: Students taking the STAAR Alternate 2 assessment and students who require accommodations that cannot be provided online will not be required to take the STAAR assessment online.
New Question Types
One significant aspect of the redesign includes what legislators call a ‘multiple choice cap.’ In practice, it means that no more than 75% of the points on a STAAR test can come from multiple choice questions. To make up the difference, new non-multiple-choice question types are being designed alongside Texas Educators. This change should help students have more ways to show that they understand the taught material, and create questions that more closely match the types of questions they receive from their teachers while in class.
It’s expected that a new set of non-multiple-choice questions (plus example questions) will be available by early 2022, with full practice tests reflecting the new STAAR guidelines expected to be available that fall.
Reading Language Arts Redesign
HB 3906 also brings significant changes to Reading Language Arts assessment. Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, all RLA assessments will focus on both reading and writing. This includes Grades 3-8 English, Grades 3-5 Spanish, and English I and II End-of-Course. These assessments will include new question types as well as an extended constructed response or essay at every grade level.
New Assessment Educator Advisory Committee
Alongside the passage of this new bill, TEA also established a new committee designed to advise the commissioner and TEA on instruments and tools for helping meet HB3906 requirements. The Assessment Educator Advisory Committee will be made up of experts in school leadership, higher education, curriculum, and instruction, and will include individuals with experience educating special populations. While this won’t have a direct effect on educators in the day-to-day, it will hopefully help ensure closer alignment between the requirements in HB 3906 and schools’ ability to meet them.
Continued Development for STAAR Interim Assessments
HB 3906 formalized ongoing support for STAAR Interim Assessments. These free online tools will be provided to school districts and open-enrollment charter schools, and will serve as an optional way to monitor student progress and predict performance on the STAAR tests themselves. These interim assessments will be made available for all grades and subjects tested under STAAR.
Through-Year Assessment Pilot
Finally, HB3906 outlined the development of a through-year assessment pilot. Administered three times during the school year, this assessment pilot might eventually replace the single assessment model— depending on the outcome of the pilot, which is planned to launch in fall of 2022 after a recruitment period in spring 2022.
The three-fold goals of this program include:
- More timely and frequent feedback throughout the year
- Multiple opportunities for students to show what they’ve learned
- Potential to provide within-year growth information
TEA has promised to include educator feedback in the design for the program, and is actively seeking input from teachers, curriculum leaders, content experts, parents, and students, as well as the Educator Advisory Committee and the Texas Technical Advisory Committee. The pilot is expected to run for several years. Participation by school districts will be optional, and won’t eliminate the obligation of schools to administer the STAAR annual assessment.
Want to learn more about the specific assessed curriculum for each grade and subject? Consult the charts below.
Grades 3–8 Assessments
|Grade||Assessed Curriculum||Preliminary Blueprints|
|Grade 3||RLA||RLA | Mathematics|
|Grade 4||RLA||RLA | Mathematics|
|Grade 5||RLA||RLA | Mathematics | Science|
|Grade 6||RLA||RLA | Mathematics|
|Grade 7||RLA||RLA | Mathematics|
|Grade 8||RLA||RLA | Mathematics | Science | Social Studies|
Grades 3–5 Spanish Assessments
|Grade||Assessed Curriculum||Preliminary Blueprints|
|Grade 3 Spanish||RLA||RLA | Mathematics|
|Grade 4 Spanish||RLA||RLA | Mathematics|
|Grade 5 Spanish||RLA||RLA | Mathematics | Science|
|Subject||Assessed Curriculum||Preliminary Blueprints|
|English||English I | English 2||English I | English II|
|Social Studies||n/a||U.S. History|
STAAR Alternate 2
|English||English I | English II|
Progress Learning is the leader in helping educators prepare students to master their state standards. Our content is already STAAR and TEKS aligned, and we’ll always be here to help ensure that every educator and every student has the resources they need to succeed.