In spring 2012, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR™) replaced the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). The STAAR program at grades 3–8 assesses the same subjects and grades that were assessed on TAKS. At high school, however, grade-specific assessments (EOCs) are given in Algebra I, biology, English I, English II, and U.S. history. Beginning in 2016, TEA will voluntarily administer STAAR EOC assessments for English III and Algebra II.
STAAR vs. TAKS
Differences between STAAR and TAKS - STAAR is a more rigorous testing program. It emphasizes "readiness" standards, which are the knowledge and skills that are considered most important for success in the grade or course subject that follows and for college and career. STAAR contains more test questions at most grades than did TAKS assessments. The high school STAAR assessments are course-based exams rather than grade based. The STAAR tests also have time limits. Students will have four hours to complete most exams, except English I and II. These two exams will have five-hour time limits.
Can we see the test? STAAR is a secure test, so it is not available for review before it is given. By law, the test will be publicly released every three years. However, the Texas Education Agency has released sample questions and two of the primary tests that have been given in previous years.
Changes to the testing program
The Texas student testing program began in 1980 with the first administration of the Texas Assessment of Basic Skills. The testing program has expanded over the years due to federal and state requirements. STAAR represents the fifth generation of the testing program. Each new generation has been more rigorous than the one before it. Sample test questions (PDF, 566 KB) from the various state testing programs illustrate the increasing rigor of the program over the past three decades. A timeline details the changes to the program since its inception.