Dear Austin ISD families,

Thank you for your on-going support and participation in your child’s education. We continue to recognize how resilient students have been in the face of the many challenges we’ve all encountered this year. Students have seized on opportunities to enhance their use of technology, grow academically, and continue learning.

One of the many ways we support students in their academic growth is through standardized testing, including the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR). The STAAR helps us all understand how much a student knows and has mastered in core subject areas like English, math, science and social studies at the elementary and middle school levels, and English I, English II, Algebra I, biology and U.S history at the high school level.

These tests are simply one measure of student knowledge, and the results can provide important information to families, teachers, administrators and the students themselves. This is especially important as we know that students have been affected in different ways due to the changes we’ve had to make in providing instruction during the pandemic. It’s also important to remember that Texas requires high school students to pass all necessary End of Course, or EOC, assessments to graduate.

While Austin ISD has offered remote learning to families for the entire school year, Texas Education Agency guidelines require us to administer the STAAR on-site. It is our goal for every student who is able to come to campus to do so. All safety measures will be in place for the administration of the test including masks, social distancing where feasible, and easily available handwashing and sanitizing stations.

Your campus will be reaching out to you soon with specific dates and times for testing.

Please remember that students who come on to campus must meet the Texas Health and Human Services immunization requirements for school. Please contact your campus health room staff if you have any questions regarding immunizations.

For additional questions regarding STAAR administration, please contact your principal.

Thank you for your cooperation and continued support,

Anthony Mays
Chief of Schools

STAAR FAQ

Why is it important for my child to take the STAAR?

STAAR assessments are an important tool for evaluating how much our students have learned in a given year. While we believe that a teacher’s assessment is most important, we recognize that data from STAAR can help us evaluate how our students are learning. We hope to have as many students as possible participate in STAAR this spring and are working to provide the safest testing environment possible.

Who takes STAAR?

STAAR is required by state law in,

  • Grades 3–8 mathematics,
  • Grades 3–8 reading,
  • Grades 4 and 7 writing,
  • Grades 5 and 8 science,
  • Grade 8 social studies,
  • High school Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History.

Who Takes TELPAS and why is it important?

Texas annually assesses the English language proficiency of students who have been identified as English learners (ELs) in four language domains—listening, speaking, reading, and writing. TELPAS evaluates the progress that each EL has made in becoming proficient in the use of academic English.

Can students take the STAAR or TELPAS assessments from home?

No. To participate, a student must be physically present on campus.

What adjustments have been made to make on-campus testing safer for students?

The Texas Education Agency has made a number of adjustments to help school districts provide a safe on-campus testing environment, including the option to expand the test window to space out testing. Austin ISD mandates that all students, staff and visitors on campuses wear a mask, pre-screen for symptoms through the AISD app and practice social distancing when feasible. Additionally, each campus principal will have the ability to create a testing plan based on campus space and availability of staff.

Will STAAR results be used for grade promotion for students in grades 5 and 8?

No. The Texas Education Agency waived the rule stating that students must perform successfully on STAAR math and reading at grades 5 and 8 to be promoted to the next grade level. Instead, Austin ISD’s promotion policies will apply.

Is successful completion of End of Course (EOC) assessments at the high school level in English I, English II, Algebra I, Biology, and Social Studies still required for graduation?

Under current law, students are required to perform successfully on EOCs to meet graduation requirements. Although students may have future opportunities to take EOCs prior to graduation, we believe it is important for students to participate in EOCs at the immediate conclusion of the course to have the best chance of success.

If my student completes an EOC course this spring but does not take the EOC assessment, can the EOC requirement for that course be eliminated by an Individual Graduation Committee?

No. Under current law, a student must attempt an EOC assessment at least once before an Individual Graduation Committee can consider alternate criteria to satisfy the EOC requirement.

What if parents decide that on-campus testing is not a viable option for their children?

In that case, we respect your decision to continue to participate in remote instruction on testing days and your child will not take STAAR or TELPAS. For high school students, please note the above EOC graduation requirements.

Will campuses receive a state accountability ratings (A-F) for the 20-21 school year?

No. TEA has stated that A-F ratings will not be assigned for 2020-21 because of disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, STAAR results and accountability reports will be prepared for each campus and district and the reports will be available to the public.