Tag Archives: STAAR

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.


All HISD parents invited to attend STAAR info session this Thursday

Get the latest on STAAR – including new developments on when the “15 percent rule” will take effect

The STAAR test made headlines this week as state officials supported the delay of a controversial requirement surrounding end-of-course (EOC) exams. The rule, which requires that EOC exams count for 15 percent of a student’s final grade in a course, is to take effect this year for first-time ninth-graders.

In recent weeks, Texas lawmakers have voiced their support for delaying the 15 percent requirement until the 2012-2013 school year.

HISD and other Texas school districts are awaiting guidance from TEA regarding any potential changes to STAAR, including EOCs impacting final course grades. As testing dates approach, it’s important for parents to understand the latest changes and be familiar with the format of the test. Students will begin taking the STAAR test in late March.

All HISD parents are invited to attend an informational session this Thursday, Feb. 16, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center. STAAR experts will give an overview of the changes for elementary, middle and high school students. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters as well as a panel of district officials representing multiple areas, including special education.

Continue reading

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.

STAAR info session planned for Feb. 16 at HISD administration building

Mark your calendars for upcoming STAAR events, starting with this info session:

Join HISD and the Council of PTAs for a STAAR info session
Thursday, Feb. 16, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center
Board Auditorium
4400 West 18th Street

DETAILS: Get the latest updates on the state’s new accountability test. Our panel of experts is ready to take all of your questions. Plus, we will present information on how the test will affect elementary, middle, and high school students, and explain how the district is implementing the new requirements (such as the 15 percent rule).

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS: If you have questions about STAAR, you can ask them in person or via email before the event: STAAR@houstonisd.org.

Other upcoming events:

STAAR programs on HISDTV:

Feb. 28 parent forum, in English (Program flier: STAAR_onTV)

March 6 parent forum, in Spanish (Program flier: STAAR_onTV (Spanish)

HISD principals, teachers prepare for new STAAR test

HISD staff review writing samples at Hattie Mae White in preparation for STAAR.

 Sharpen your No. 2 pencils – the state’s new accountability test, STAAR, is just two months away. Ever since the Texas Education Agency began releasing information about the new accountability system, HISD teachers and principals have been hard at work preparing students for the exam. Students in grades 3-8 will begin taking the tests on March 27, with more testing dates in late April. High school students will take the majority of their STAAR EOCs – “end-of-course” exams – during the month of May.

(Click here for STAAR overview video.)

Teacher Development Specialists have been training educators, developing assessments, and using feedback to recalibrate instruction in a way that prepares students for the more rigorous STAAR test. That work continued last week at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center.

STAAR is the new statewide, vertically-aligned, testing system that will replace the TAKS test.

Stephanie Rhodes, principal of Ray K. Daily Elementary School, joined other elementary school principals in reviewing writing samples to better understand the writing portion of the STAAR test.

“At first there was a lot of anxiety, because we didn’t have any release questions or a lot of information. We knew it was going to be more rigorous, but we didn’t know how far of a jump it was going to be,” Rhodes said. “We now have a better understanding of the expectations. I think the district has done a great job getting us information and people to train us on the direction we need to go and what we need to do as leaders to make sure our teachers and our students are successful.”

Rhodes said she is working to make sure her school is prepared. She’s meeting in professional learning communities with teachers during their planning time, helping teachers look at data, and holding parent meetings.

“I think the students know that it’s going to be a more difficult assessment, but they also know they are getting the preparation they need.”

How the district is preparing for the STAAR test:

  • Training for teachers, principals
  • Coaching, co-teaching, and model teaching based on STAAR
  • STAAR-focused assessments and feedback throughout the year
  • Revised spring teaching calendar focused on STAAR standards
  • Recruitment of tutors for high-need campuses


STAAR is the new statewide, vertically-aligned, testing system that will replace the TAKS test. STAAR will continue to be based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills – known as the TEKS. The STAAR tests will be more rigorous than TAKS and are designed to measure a student’s college and career readiness. Key dates:

  • March 26-30:English I, II and III, Grades 4 & 7 Writing, Grades 5 & 8 Math and Reading
  • April 24-27: Grades 3, 4, 6 & 7 Math and Reading, Grades 5 & 8 Science, Grade 8 Social Studies
  • May 7-18: Assessment window for EOC subjects (except English I, II and III)

For sample questions, test dates and more information, please visit houstonisd.org/STAAR


Post a comment on HISD’s STAAR Resources blog at hisdstaar.wordpress.com

Follow STAAR on twitter: twitter.com/HISDSTAAR