Spring 2017

ATPE News is the official publication of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, the largest educator association in Texas. The magazine addresses the most important issues affecting public education in the state. Learn more at

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• Grade 5: math, reading, and science • Grade 6: math and reading • Grade 7: math, reading, and writing • Grade 8: math, reading, science, and social studies Spanish versions of the tests are in- cluded for grades 3-8 math and read- ing, grade 4 writing, and grade 5 science. The STAAR pro- gram also autho- rizes end-of-course examinations in al- gebra I, biology, English I (combined reading/writing), English II (combined reading/writing), and US history. Algebra II and English III are available to districts as op- tional assessments. Interestingly, this is not the state's first foray into end-of-course examinations. In 1993- 94, TEA instituted the short-lived Norm-Referenced Assessment Program for Texas (NAPT), which consisted of end-of-course examinations in algebra I, biology I, and computer science. But we digress. Under the STAAR system, test results are reported to school districts and campuses on five weighted domains. Table 2 shows the five domains and a brief explanation of what each domain measures. A campus performing in the top 25 percent can earn a distinction for academic achievement in English/ language arts/reading, mathematics, science, or social studies. In addition, campuses can earn a distinction in student progress, closing performance gaps, or postsec- ondary readiness. IN RETROSPE C T: THE BEAT GOES ON Since the advent of standardized testing in Texas in 1979-80, six Texas governors of both the Democratic and Republican persuasion have served, and the state legislature has convened 18 times. During this time, the 20th century has faded into memory and smart phones have become ubiquitous. Yet most of our students still attack the latest standardized test with a trusty no. 2 pencil. As the 19th-century French novelist and teach- er Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr observed, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." We advise Texas educators again, as we did on the 25th anniversa- ry, to stay tuned. Don't assume the standardized testing debate is over, unless you are shortsighted—or close to retirement. Ross Sherman, EdD, is dean of the College of Education and Psychology at the University of Texas at Tyler. Timothy B. Jones, EdD, is an educational consultant. Cynthia Sherman, MEd, is a lecturer at the College of Education and Psychology at the University of Texas at Tyler. 30 ATPE NEWS Domain Classification Explanation Domain I Student Achievement Measures the percentage of students who performed satisfactorily on the assessment instruments Domain II Student Progress Measures year-to-year student progress by subject and student group Domain III Closing Performance Gaps Tracks advanced academic achievement of economically disadvantaged students and the lowest performing racial/ ethnic student groups Domain IV Postsecondary Readiness Emphasizes the importance of earning a high school diploma that provides students with the foundation necessary for success in college, the workforce, job training programs, or the military Domain V Community and Student Engagement Coming in 2017-18 TABLE 2. STATE OF TEXAS ASSESSMENTS OF A C ADEMI C READINESS (STAAR) © Girl with pencil/Judy Kennamer/Thinkstock

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