End of Course Tests and Grading

This year marks the beginning of the STAAR testing program throughout the state. As part of the STAAR program, high school students will now take end of course tests in math, science, social studies, and English. Unlike the TAKS tests, these tests will be course specific. As with TAKS, students will have to perform at a set standard in order to graduate. However, in TAKS, only the 11th grade exam counted toward graduation requirements. In STAAR, scores in all areas will be combined and a student must achieve a given cumulative score in order to be eligible for graduation.

High school students in the 10th and 11th grades for the 2011-2012 school year will still be under the TAKS program. In the 2012-2013 school year, 11th grade students will be under TAKS. For students in the 9th grade during the 2011-2012 school year, STAAR end of course tests will be required. These students will be the first class to graduate under the new testing requirements. In addition, these students will also be the first to have their STAAR end of course tests count 15% of their final grade in a class.

Students taking the end of course STAAR will not receive a score on a 0-100 scale. The Texas Education Agency has announced that it will not furnish a way to convert the scores on the STAAR test to a 0-100 scale. Therefore, each district in the state must come up with a way to deal with counting these tests 15% of a student’s final grade. At the December board meeting, the EISD Board of Trustees voted to accept the recommendation presented to them for consideration. The recommendation was developed in a collaborative effort among administration, counselors and teachers. The main emphasis in developing the recommendation was the overall good of the students at EISD.

If a student does not meet the passing standard set by the state, the student will receive a grade of 69 to count as 15% of their final grade in a class. If a student achieves at the passing standard, but below college readiness standard, the student will receive a score of 90 to count as 15% of their final grade in a class. If a student scores at or above the college readiness standard, the student will receive a score of 100 to count as 15% of their final grade in a class. Since STAAR requires a certain cumulative score among tests taken to graduate, the state will allow students the opportunity to retest in order to improve their scores for graduation purposes. It has been left to local school districts to determine if these retests will be counted for grading purposes. The recommendation that was approved in December will allow the first two retest opportunities to count for a student’s 15% portion of the final grade. For example, if a student takes an EOC test and scores below passing standards, that student will receive a 69 to count as 15% of their final grade. At the next testing opportunity, if that student retests and scores above the passing standard, but below college readiness standards, that student would then receive a 90 on their EOC test grade and would have the 90 count as 15% of their overall grade in the course. The student could choose to retest again at the next available opportunity. If they did meet college readiness standards on that retest, their EOC grade would become a 100.

The end of course testing will certainly be different. As a district, we have tried to make decisions regarding this new program that will be the most beneficial for our students. As we go through this process, there will be growing pains. If you have questions regarding this new testing program, or questions regarding how student grades will be affected, please do not hesitate to contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.

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