Standardized Testing

As Texas students head back to school they are also heading back for another year of high-stakes standardized testing.

The number of required tests are being rolled back, but the school year is still driven by the tests.

And many have reached the conclusion that the testing system is broken.

Once again the Texas Education Agency has declined to raise the standards for the tests, and that's being seen as an admission of failure for the whole testing scheme.

What do you want to see happen with standardized testing?


Ryan E. Poppe / TPR News


State lawmakers took issue with the Texas Education Agency’s plan to keep the standard for writing component of the Texas STAARS exam at a lower level for a third year in a row. Lawmakers voiced concerns with keeping the lower standard and changing the exam while student performance  remains flat.

The state introduced the STAAR exams in 2011 and because of failing test grades the legislature reduced the number of exams from 15 to five in 2013.  

State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, D-San Antonio, said the STAAR exam may have run its course. 

US Department of Education

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has asked the U.S. Department of Education allow the state to delay a full rollout of a new teacher evaluation system and teacher's associations are applauding Williams' action.

As per agreement with that allows Texas to opt out of sections of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, Williams was to design a teacher evaluation pilot program, test it using voluntary school districts, and then rollout the program after a year. 

Texas State Board of Education Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff said he would like to see the state completely abandon the federal No Child Left Behind program. 

Ratliff said in 2013 lawmakers reduced the number of tests for high school students but failed in their attempts to do the same for elementary and middle school students out of fear that Texas would lose its federal public education dollars. Ratliff said that money only accounts for less than 10% of the state public education budget.

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

State teachers gave House leaders their take on the new job assessment pilot program designed by the Texas Education Agency. Teachers criticized the use of student test scores to measure job performance, calling the formula “black magic” with no type of scientific evidence.

As part an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, the TEA designed a program for teacher evaluation in order to opt out of the federal No Child Left Behind program. The proposed plan gives student end-of-course exams a 20 percent weight, which is a minimum set by federal education officials.