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State Representative Mike Villarreal
Texas House of Representatives
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8, 2012
Contact: Peter Clark
Phone: 512-463-0532 (o), 512-417-9262 (c)
State Releases STAAR Test Results for High School Students
Villarreal Explains Results, Expresses Concerns About Focus on Testing
Austin - Today the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released the results of the new STAAR end-of-course exams for Texas high school students for the 2011-2012 school year. Passing rates for 9th graders ranged from a low of 55 percent on the English I writing exam to a high of 87 percent on the biology exam.
Representative Mike Villarreal commented, "We need to tone down the obsession with test scores and test preparation. It's hard to know if a low score is the result of a student having a bad day or if a high score is the result of a teacher putting aside enriching lessons and just teaching to the test. Even the creators of these exams have warned that test results alone are not adequate for evaluating schools or students."
After reviewing the 2011-2012 end-of-course test results, TEA established “phase-in” passing standards to apply to current test results as well as final passing standards that will be implemented in the future. Students who took 9th grade classes in 2011-2012 are the first cohort that must pass all STAAR mathematics, English, science, and social studies EOC tests, on average, in order to graduate. In other words, a student who misses the passing standard on one test can compensate for it and stay on track for graduation by achieving a higher score on a different test. However, students must pass outright the Algebra II and English III reading and writing tests in order to graduate on the Recommended High School Program. Starting next year, EOC scores will count as 15 percent of a student’s final course grade. Students who failed a test will have an opportunity to retake it.
"All of us, from the state down to the school board and the PTA, need to move beyond test scores for judging our schools," said Rep. Villarreal. "During the next legislative session we need to bring balance to our testing system, end the requirement for EOC scores to count as 15 percent of students' grades, and restore education funding so schools can meet our rising standards."