Texas Replaces TAKS With Tougher Tests

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness is a bit of a mouthful, but STAAR, as its known to educators, is the new standard for Texas students to be measured by.

Texas Education Agency Spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson says the new test bears some similarities to the TAKS test.

"Grades three through eight, the testing program will be pretty much the same. Students will be assessed on reading and writing, mathematics, science and social studies at different grade levels. In the high school courses is where we begin to change dramatically. Students will be taking what's called the end of course exams. They have to achieve a passing level in order to graduate under these tests."

The end of course exams include three tests each in math, science, social studies and english language arts. Each test is administered when the student completes a course, regardless of what grade they're in. So if a freshman and a junior both take Algebra 1, they will both take the exam at the end of the course.

Culbertson says the new system was mandated by the state legislature.

"The state began focusing on post-high school readiness for graduating students and to help insure Texas students were going to be comptetive with other students, both nationally and internationally. So we had to come up with a more rigorous and challenging test program."

Schools will start administering the STAAR exams in the spring.  

High school students who already took the TAKS test will continue under the TAKS system until they graduate.

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