Education News

Texas Education Commissioner Responds To Testing Criticism, Releasing STAAR Exams Early

Today in a state senate committee lawmakers debated how many standardized tests a high school student should have to take. It's part of a statewide backlash against testing. But now the Texas Education Commissioner is pushing back.


Which of the following statements does NOT describe a cube?

A. It has six congruent faces

B. It has both parallel and perpendicular edges

C. It has 8 vertices or

D. It has both acute and right angles

Don’t know? Well that’s a test question for middle school students on the state’s standardized exam — the STAAR.

The Texas Education Agency is going to release test questions like that and the answers sooner than scheduled.

DeEtta Culbertson is with the agency.

“We’ve had a lot of questions and comments about the STAAR assessments. It will quell a lot of questions about the type of material that’s covered, what the questions are, how rigorous it is.”

Usually the state releases standardized exams every three years. But now all the exams from this spring will be released one or two years early.

It may smooth out some political problems. But it also has logistical consequences.

“It accelerates not only the time frame for releasing the  test, but it will also mean that rather than being able to reuse questions from this year’s test, the testing company will have to develop a new test form.”

The testing company is Pearson.

The amount of contracts Pearson has with Texas is one reason why parents and teachers are so frustrated with the testing system.

And that has lawmakers taking a closer look.


Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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