Texas Assessment Program Highlights

  • Beginning with the 2021–2022 school year, the Texas Assessment Program has a new vendor team—Cambium Assessment, Inc. (CAI) and NCS Pearson, Inc. CAI will host and manage the online testing platform for all assessments and will manage the registration, administration, scoring, and reporting for the entire assessment portfolio. Pearson will be responsible for item development and test form construction.

  • Senate Bill 1267, which recently passed during the 87th Regular Legislative Session, 2021, eliminates annual training requirements in test security and administration procedures for most testing personnel. Campus testing coordinators are still required to receive annual training, and they may require annual training for other staff members. All testing personnel must receive training at least once in test security and administration procedures, and they are obliged to sign an Oath of Test Security and Confidentiality and to comply with state assessment requirements. Annual test administration training is strongly encouraged, especially for policies and practices that have changed since prior administrations. In addition, the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) rater calibration activities now have similar restrictions. However, the law allows for required calibration activities based on significant changes to the program. Because the calibration activities are changing this year as they transition to the new Texas Learning Management System (LMS), rater calibration activities will continue to be required for the 2021–2022 school year.

  • The requirements previously mandated by Texas Education Code (TEC), §28.0211, regarding the Student Success Initiative have been repealed. Specifically, the grade retention and retesting requirements for grades 5 and 8 mathematics and reading have been eliminated. Therefore, only one administration of the STAAR grades 5 and 8 mathematics and reading assessments will be offered annually, starting in the 2021–2022 school year. This administration will take place in May in order to coincide with the administration of other STAAR grades 3–8 assessments.

  • The requirements previously mandated by TEC, §39.0238, regarding the adoption and administration of postsecondary readiness assessments have also been repealed. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will, as a result, no longer provide optional end-of-course (EOC) assessments for Algebra II or English III.

  • Starting in the 2021–2022 school year, districts may now request authorization to administer a STAAR assessment on the Monday of the main testing window (week 1) for both paper and online tests if administering the assessment on another instructional day would result in a significant administrative burden due to specific local conditions. Districts that choose to participate in the optional extended testing window (week 2) for online assessments may continue to schedule tests on Monday during the extension.

  • Starting in the 2021–2022 school year, Texas public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools are required to administer STAAR to all eligible migrant students. Federal and state statutes indicate that all migrant students must be assessed annually using the same system of high-quality academic assessments. To comply with this requirement, STAAR will be administered to all students identified by the state as migrants. More information will be available in the 2021–2022 Texas Migrant Interstate Program Test Administration Information when it is posted later this fall.

  • Starting with the December 2021 administration, students will have access to both Desmos and Texas Instruments graphing calculators as embedded tools for use when taking the STAAR grade 8 mathematics and Algebra I online tests. The STAAR grade 8 science and Biology online tests will include a four-function calculator and a scientific calculator as embedded tools. The four-function calculator will remain available for students in grades 3–7 who meet the eligibility requirements for use of a calculation device.

  • With the new Cambium testing platform, known as the Test Delivery System (TDS), districts can now select two distinct levels of support for online oral administrations beginning in December 2021. The online embedded text-to-speech (TTS) tool allows an eligible student to choose one of the following two support options:

    1. Select any eligible test question and answer choices to be read aloud using the TTS tool.

    2. Choose to have all eligible parts of the test be read aloud automatically in the order of presentation.

  • Districts will receive preprinted pre-ID labels that must be applied to a student’s answer document in order for it to be scored. Precoded answer documents will not be generated or sent to districts.

  • Starting in the 2021–2022 school year, TEA has revised its policy regarding student transfers or moves to a new district after the first day of the STAAR Alternate 2 testing window. In accordance with federal and state laws that require every student to be assessed with the appropriate state assessment, any student who is enrolled before and during the STAAR Alternate 2 assessment window must now be provided an opportunity to participate in the assessment.

  • For the spring 2022 administration of STAAR Alternate 2, TEA will offer a two-week preview window prior to the opening of the testing window. However, districts may continue to preview the assessment at any time during the testing window.

  • Starting in spring 2022, STAAR Alternate 2 image cards will now be pre-cut and packaged together with a scannable label for use on the return package to enable district tracking.

  • Starting in the 2021–2022 school year, the quantity of printed TELPAS Test Administrator Manuals will be based on student registration numbers and will follow the same distribution formula as the STAAR manuals (one manual per 15 students registered plus 10 percent overage per district). Districts will be able to order additional manuals if needed.

  • For the spring 2022 TELPAS reading administration, writing items will be embedded in the field-test positions for some TELPAS reading test forms.

  • Beginning with the spring 2022 administration, TEA will offer braille versions of TELPAS reading tests for grades 2–12. Any English learner may use this designated support if he or she routinely uses braille materials during classroom instruction and classroom testing.

  • Starting in the 2021–2022 school year, the TELPAS Alternate Test Administrator Manual will be posted online only and will include all the information necessary to complete test administration activities.

  • For the spring 2022 administration of TELPAS Alternate, the Observable Behaviors will be printed and packaged in bundles of three copies per bundle, based on student registration numbers; the total number of copies will include 10 percent overage per district. Additional copies of the Observable Behaviors will not be available to order during the additional orders window. To accommodate any shortages, districts may photocopy these materials since blank lists of Observable Behaviors are not considered secure.