STAAR Standardized Tests, or State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, will be given for the first time Monday, Statesman.com reports. The tests are replacing the old Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) and are generally regarded as tougher and more difficult than those old standardized tests. The STAAR is being phased in, with students in grades three through ninth taking the test this year, while those in tenth through twelfth grades will continue to take the old TAKS test until next year.
For now, the State Education Commissioner has made the decision that districts do not have to include the STAAR score as part of a high schooler’s grade. This is another difference from TAKS and will not have to be enforced until next school year. Fifth and eighth graders also not have to pass the STAAR test to be promoted to the next grade, unlike the TAKS, as that requirement is being waived until the 2012-2013 school year.
The STAAR test will be timed, unlike the TAKS, and will include fewer multiple choice questions and two essays, one narrative and one expository. It will also ask students to correct entire sentences rather than correcting just one mistake, as on the TAKS.