Math Assessment Excluded From 2015 STAAR Test Accountability System

Math Assessment Excluded From 2015 STAAR Test Accountability System

By Zora Asberry

NewsWest 9

AUSTIN - Students will not be held accountable for the math portion of the STAAR test this year. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) made the decision after teachers and parents voiced their concerns regarding recent changes that were made in the math portion of the test.

Students in 3rd through 8th grade are being affected but school and TEA officials say that 5th and 8th graders won't have to worry about advancing to the next grade level based on their math scores.

NewsWest 9 received a statement from the TEA that explains why this decision was made.

Commissioner of Education, Michael Williams, announced on April 8, 2015 stating the following, "The teachers I have spoken with have confidence that Texas students will, in time, adjust to the more rigorous math standards but for accountability purposes asked for a transition year."

The decision was made based on a concern that students may have more difficulty adjusting to the new TEKS standards for the math assessment.

"Based on what I hear from those working in the classroom, I agree and will not count grades 3-8 math assessment results in 2015 accountability ratings for schools, charters and districts," said Williams.

The change is only in effect for 2015 but the Midland Independent School District says that this transition year will be helpful.

Elise Kail, Executive Director of Accountability & IMS for MISD, said, "As far as the district goes, we're pleased with that, because if you look at the way the math TEKS were changed it created a lot of gaps that our teachers and our students have not yet been able to completely fill with the change in requirements for each grade level."

Although students won't have to worry about their accountability on the math assessment, officials still suggest that they try to do their best on the math portion of the test.

"The kids still have to test, teachers still have to teach, but for state accountability we don't have that monkey on our back about whether we failed because we didn't meet requirements or because of not meeting the math standards," said Kail.

The math assessment results for those grade levels will not be included in the 2015 accountability system but the results will still be sent to each school district and charter to help teachers assess what areas need to be focused on for upcoming years.

"We can take our results, turn around, readjust, monitor and see where we are and get going for next year," said Kail. 

The TEA plans on releasing the 2015 Accountability Manual in May which will fully explain the new accountability system. For more information on the new changes you can also visit the Texas Education Agency website at www.tea.texas.gov and click on the "Student Testing and Accountability" tab.