Texas Education Code section 39.023(c): “ A school district shall … adopt a policy that requires a student's performance on an end-of-course assessment instrument for a course listed in this subsection in which the student is enrolled to account for 15 percent of the student's final grade for the course.” There is no other “STAAR” policy requirement. This is the minimum you have to do.
DRAFTING THE POLICY TEA ‘s Q&A guidance #14 and #15 made it clear that a STAAR EOC-Exam must account for 15% of a student’s final course grade and that this affects whether a student receives course credit. Suggestion: when drafting your policy, use the statutory language.
“DISCRETIONARY” POLICIES There are still several areas where districts need to make policy decisions. Those include: Calculating the 15% Using STAAR Score for Student Taking STAAR- Modified and STAAR-Alternate (STAAR-L has some guidance). Converting the Raw EOC Test Scores. Awarding Partial Semester Credit. Determining How Retake Scores Are Used. Determining Class Rank.
“DISCRETIONARY” POLICIES These policies represent areas where you have discretion or where we are waiting for further guidance. As of now: TEA is aware of our questions on this topic. TEA intends to release Proposed Regulations on STAAR by late Oct/early Nov. (Finalized by end of Dec./Jan? possible) But, districts want to provide parents and students some notice about the STAAR policy changes now.
CALCULATING THE 15% TEA has not provided guidance about how to calculate the 15%. There are some options…..
CALCULATING THE 15% Possible Options: 1.Include EOC score at 15% of each semester. (Problem: the district has to retroactively recalculate the 1 st semester grade.) 2.Include the EOC score as 30% of the 2 nd semester grade only. (Problem: Doesn’t feel “fair”; creates potential for surprises, hard to understand.) 3.Count each semester grade as 42.5% of the final course grade and the EOC score as 15%.
CALCULATING THE 15% Several options, but recommend using a calculation that parents and students will be familiar with – Example: 1 st Sem Aveg. + 2 nd Sem Avg. x 0.85 + ( EOC x 0.15) = Final 2 Grade OR it can be represented as: 1 st Semester Average = 42.5% 2 nd Semester Average = 42.5% EOC Test Score = 15% ()
USING STAAR-MODIFIED/STAAR-ALT SCORES TEA Q&A #14 states that there is no requirement that districts count STAAR-M or STAAR-A as 15% of a student’s final course grade. This exception is not found in the current statutes and regulations. TEA Student Assessment Division: “This statement reflects what we intend the new regs to be. But, proposed regs will not be released until late Oct./early Nov.”
USING STAAR-MODIFIED/STAAR-ALT SCORES TEA’s Guidance could change. So, you have some options: Wait until the regs are finalized and then draft policy Put a statement similar to TEA’s Q&A in your policy/regulation Put a statement that leaves room for change in your policy/regulation (i.e. “The district will use a student’s STAAR-M or STAAR-A exam scores in calculating a student’s final course grade in accordance with statute and regulations.
CONVERTING RAW EOC TEST SCORES TEA Q&A #14 makes clear that TEA will not provide guidance on how the raw EOC exam scores should be converted to a scale of 0-100. You have options, but we recommend linking the grades to TEA’s performance levels. Example….
AWARDING PARTIAL SEMESTER CREDIT We know students cannot receiving credit for an entire course if the student fails to achieve a passing grade for the course after the EOC exam score has been included. But, we have no guidance on whether the student can receive partial credit for the first semester if he passes that semester. Walsh Anderson considers this a discretionary choice that TEA will not likely provide guidance on. You still have this option.
DETERMINING HOW “RETAKE” SCORES ARE USED TEXAS EDUCATION CODE 37.023(c) says: “If a student retakes an end-of-course assessment instrument for a course listed in this subsection, as provided by Section 39.025, a school district is not required to use the student's performance on the subsequent administration or administrations of the assessment instrument to determine the student's final grade for the course.”
DETERMINING HOW “RETAKE” SCORES ARE USED Students are allowed by law to retest for any reasons at any administration, but Districts choose whether to count retake scores as 15% of the final course grade. Consider the options and determine what would help your students. Possible options: Don’t count retakes/ Count any retakes Only count the first retake score Only count retakes if it allows the student to achieve a passing grade for the course
DETERMINING CLASS RANK Nothing about STAAR changed the district’s ability to choose when and how class rank is determined. However, class rank challenges can arise from parents/students. Recommended: Making “class rank” changes effective only with the 2011-12 ninth grade class as any changes will likely be due to STAAR-related changes. Options (to be discussed).
OTHER ISSUES: CREDIT BY EXAM A district can give a student credit for a course in which the student received some instruction if the student scores 70% on a criterion referenced test for the course. Districts may be using these more and more as districts work with the student who failed as result of the EOC score. TEA Q&A states that a student who takes credit by exam still has to take the EOC. We don’t know – does the EOC count as 85% and EOC score as 15%. Hopefully this will be in the regulations. Keep an eye out for this.
OTHER ISSUES: INCLUSION OF 8 TH GRADE STAAR SCORES HB 2135 was intended to eliminate double testing for 8 th graders who are enrolled in an EOC course. The students aren’t required to take the 8 th grade math test and STAAR, but the district could decide to have them take both. What we don’t know: If TEA will count 8 th grader EOC scores towards middle school accountability calculations. We’re keeping out an eye for guidance here.
HOW TO DEAL WITH THE CHANGES The STAAR landscape will keep shifting this year. Consider your options: Draft a policy – but realize it may chance. Draft a policy with broad language – i.e. “The district will award partial course credit in accordance with thr law and regulations.” Draft a policy that gives the Superintendent authority to adopt regulations.
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