Tag Archives: 15 percent rule

Transcript from today’s live chat on STAAR


Thank you for joining us for a live chat about STAAR. Our panelists are ready to take your questions. We have with us Mark Shenker (High School Office), Richard Blair (Middle School Office), Angela Borzon (High School Office) and Angela Miller (Curriculum). We will make every effort to answer your questions today – if we experience technical difficulties, we will switch to Twitter and replace the chat window with a live feed.

[Comment From HISD parentHISD parent: ] 

Is it better to guess on a question or leave it blank if you don’t know the answer?


Wrong answers are not counted against a student; they simply do not get credit for the question. The raw score for multiple choice items reflects the total number of correct responses. There is no downside to guessing if a student does not have time to review answer choices.


HISD reaches out to Hispanic community with live STAAR forum in Spanish

Panelists will be taking questions from studio audience and callers

The Houston Independent School District is reaching out to its Spanish-speaking community and familiarizing them with the new state-mandated STAAR exam by broadcasting a live STAAR Forum in Spanish on Tuesday, March 6, from 7 to 8 p.m. on HISD TV.

This live Spanish forum will provide parents and students the opportunity to ask questions and share their concerns about STAAR with a panel of bilingual experts, including administrators and school principals. The panelists will also outline the chief differences between the previous state exam, TAKS, and STAAR, and discuss the state’s recent decision giving school districts the option of deferring implementation of the requirement that high school students’ scores on STAAR end-of-course exams count toward their class grades

Viewers can participate by submitting questions through HISD’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, via e-mail to STAAR@houstonisd.org or by calling during the forum to 713-556-8901. 

What:         Live STAAR Forum in Spanish

Who:          HISD parents, students and STAAR panelists

When:        Tuesday, March 6, from 7 to 8 p.m.

Where:       HISD-TV (Comcast, Ch. 18 and AT&T U-Verse, Ch. 99) and online at www.houstonisd.org/HISDTV.

Join HISD for noontime chat on STAAR – March 7 on houstonisd.org

Parents, teachers and community members can visit houstonisd.org for an interactive web chat on STAAR on Wednesday, March 7, from noon to 1.

A chat window will display a running feed of questions and answers during the live event. Viewers can simply watch, or actively participate by typing questions into the chat window. Selected questions will appear along with a response from HISD’s panel of STAAR experts.

On the Q&A panel: Curriculum Director Nancy Gregory, Director of High School Office Mark Shenker, and Middle School Accountability Manager Richard Blair.

Calls, emails pour in during live STAAR session at HISD-TV studio

The calls poured in as HISD hosted a live forum on the state’s new accountability test: STAAR. More than 100 people crowded the HISD-TV studio and two overflow areas to watch the forum, and viewers at home called in and emailed their questions throughout the show. More than 75 phone calls were received during the event.

Students in the live studio audience.

Host Denisse Cantu fielded questions from the live studio audience, callers, and email. A common theme emerged from the students who participated: “Why the change to STAAR?” (Answer: To measure students’ college readiness.)

“STAAR will prepare students for high school and beyond,” said Chief Middle Schools Officer Dallas Dance.

Other students and parents asked about preparations for STAAR. Some expressed concern about whether tutorials would be enough, and what the district was expecting  performance-wise in the first year of a new accountability system.

“It’s our expectation that you will do very well,” said Mark Shenker, director of the High Schools Office. He emphasized the Grad Labs, tutorials, after-school resources, and weekend sessions that continue to be available to students in HISD.

Several viewers called in to ask about the district’s plans for delaying the 15 percent requirement for high schoolers’ end-of-course exams. Based on the Texas Education Agency’s  move to defer the rule, HISD administration will recommend to the school board that the requirement be delayed a year.

A complete report of the questions and answers from this event will be posted here and on houstonisd.org in coming days. If you have a question about STAAR, please email STAAR@houstonisd.org.

Another opportunity to learn about STAAR: live forum Tuesday, Feb. 28, on HISD-TV

 HISD will be hosting a live STAAR forum (in English) for parents, students, and staff on Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 7 to 8 p.m. A panel of experts will answer questions from a studio audience and viewers at home.

Westside High School student Khadijah Ray promotes the Feb. 28 STAAR forum.

Viewers can watch it live on HISD-TV (Comcast, Ch. 18 and AT&T U-Verse, Ch. 99) or online at www.houstonisd.org/HISDTV. To submit questions, simply call 713-556-8901 or email STAAR@houstonisd.org.

You can also follow the forum and ask your questions via Twitter – follow @HoustonISD.

A similar forum will be held on March 6 for Spanish-speakers.

The show will air again at 10 p.m. on Feb. 28, and throughout the months of February and March on the following days and times:

  • Wednesdays at 10 a.m.
  • Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays at 2 p.m. 

To find out more about STAAR, click here or visit the HISD STAAR Q&A blog.

Parents bring questions to HISD’s STAAR info session

School Improvement Officer Anastasia Lindo speaks to parents about the STAAR test.

HISD parents attended an information session Thursday night, hearing directly from a panel of experts representing elementary, middle and high schools; curriculum; and special education. After viewing an overview presentation outlining the differences between TAKS and STAAR and the new requirements high schoolers will face, the session opened up to questions.

Presenters Anastasia Lindo and Richard Barajas, both school improvement officers, emphasized the importance of preparing for the new, more rigorous accountability test.

“STAAR does count,” Lindo said.  HISD will receive a raw score this year, and some students may be required to take summer school as a result of their performance.

Members of the audience asked questions about the new discussion around delaying the 15 percent requirement – which would affect this year’s ninth-graders. Barajas acknowledged there is growing support around an effort to postpone that requirement until next school year.

Questions were also submitted via email and the STAAR Q&A blog.

Several parents asked about provisions for students in special education. Assistant Superintendent Sowmya Kumar spoke to those concerns, emphasizing that accommodations are made on an individual basis. Kumar also emphasized the importance of students working toward the recommended graduation plan.

“Students who take anything but regular STAAR are working toward a minimum high school diploma,” Kumar said. That can limit a student’s choices in the future.

Kumar encouraged parents to contact HISD staff members directly with any questions: “We’ll be happy to talk to you directly.”

House letter to TEA: 15% requirement in first year of STAAR “not fair or good policy”

The Chair of the House Committee on Public Education, Rep. Rob Eissler, has invited House members to co-sign the following letter formally requesting the commissioner to defer implementation of the 15% rule.

Letter to TEA

The letter says the suspension of ratings for districts during the first year – while students are held accountable – is “not fair or good policy.”

For the 2011-2012 school year, districts will not receive an accountability rating as we transition into the new system, but unfortunately our students are being held accountable for all provisions immediately. This is not fair or good policy.

Current law requires that an end-of-course assessment be counted as 15% of a students final grade in a course. We would like to formally request that you defer the 15% provision for the 2011-2012 school year. ……. We strongly believe this action is in the best interest of our ninth grade students.


In the news: Senators’ letter on deferral of STAAR requirement

Following are links to news stories about yesterday’s letter from four state senators regarding the requirement that STAAR end-of-course exams count for 15 percent of a student’s final course grade:

Shapiro says TEA can waive STAAR requirement (Texas Tribune)

Senators support deferral of end-of-course exams’ effect on final grades (Dallas Morning News)

Central Texas districts vary on handling of new end-of-course exams (Austin American-Statesman)

Shapiro back delay on STAAR grade provision (Austin American-Statesman)

Don’t like the effects of STAAR tests on education? Opt out (Austin American-Statesman)



Senators send letter to education commissioner on delaying “15 percent rule” for STAAR end-of-course exams

Today, Senators Florence Shapiro, Royce West, Kel Seliger, and Dan Patrick sent the following letter to Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott regarding the end-of-course (EOC) examinations/STAAR:

Shapiro Letter of Intent

The letter gives the commissioner authority to delay the requirement that an end-of-course assessment count as 15% of a student’s final grade.  Although no official response to the letter has been issued by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), we expect the agency to move in this direction.

HISD will keep students, parents and teachers updated as school officials receive more information from TEA. If you have questions about STAAR, please attend HISD’s informational session this Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th St.