Frequently Asked Questions About Test Administrations

General

  1.  What testing requirements exist regarding state assessments?

STAAR, STAAR Alternate 2, and TELPAS are required by state law to be offered by school systems. State law also requires that students take the assessments. (See Texas Education Code (TEC), Section 39.023 and 39.027.)

Additionally, STAAR, STAAR Alternate 2, TELPAS, and TELPAS Alternate fulfill federal assessment and accountability requirement as established in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESEA requires that students be assessed annually in grades 3–8, as well as once in high school, for certain subjects. (See ESEA, Section 1111(b)(2)(B).)

More information is available on the State and Federal Required Assessments Fact Sheet.


2. How can a student who receives remote instruction under the local remote program in Senate Bill 15 be administered a state assessment? 

To ensure equity for all students, a student must be present at a monitored testing session and must be supervised by a trained test administrator to participate in the Texas Assessment Program. Most STAAR administrations are two-week online testing windows to give districts more flexibility in scheduling assessments and more opportunity to test all eligible students. The testing window for STAAR Alternate 2 is a five-week window, and the testing windows for TELPAS and TELPAS Alternate are six weeks to ensure there is sufficient opportunities to test all eligible students.  


3. What alternate testing locations may a district use for the Texas Assessment Program? 

Districts may set up alternative testing sites other than the home campus (e.g., performing arts centers, recreational centers, or any other location supervised by a trained test administrator where the district can ensure equitable access and maintain test security). All test administration guidelines MUST still be followed: 

  • There must be at least one trained test administrator for every 30 students. 
  • Sufficient time to complete the test must be ensured for every student (especially for students receiving extra time accommodations).
  • Answer documents should be grouped under the correct Campus Identification Sheet to ensure test results are attributed to the home campus.
  • Sufficient bandwidth must be ensured for all students who are testing online. 


4. What flexibility do I have to reduce the total number of students on campuses on scheduled testing days? 

Hybrid instruction waivers were only permitted for the 2020–2021 school year. However, districts may continue to use the Modified Schedule State Assessment Testing Days Waiver. This waiver allows the district to modify the schedule of classes for students who are not being tested to report to and attend school after the state testing period has ended. 


5. Who can be a test administrator for the Texas Assessment Program? 

Any district personnel may serve as a test administrator if they hold valid education credentials (such as a Texas educator certificate or permit), or if they are supervised by a district professional who holds the appropriate credentials. All district and campus personnel who participate in state-mandated testing or handle or have access to secure test materials must be trained at least once in proper testing procedures and have signed an Oath of Test Security and Confidentiality. 


6. What score code should a district use for a student who is not tested? 

Both federal and state laws require that students enrolled in public school districts and open enrollment charter schools take the STAAR assessment as a measure of student understanding of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Students are required to participate, and districts are required to provide a testing opportunity for students. What that testing opportunity looks like varies at the local level.  

If a student does not participate, the district should keep local documentation. As all eligible students must be accounted for, the district should mark the test as noted below: 

  • If a student is absent, use “A” for Absent.
  • If a student is present but is not tested, use either “S” or “O” depending on the specific scenario:
    • For students taking a STAAR grade 3–8 assessment, use “S” for Score.
    • For students taking a STAAR EOC assessment for the first time, use “S” for Score.
    • For students taking a STAAR EOC retest in April, May, or December, use “O” for Other.
    • For students taking a STAAR EOC retest in June, the answer document should be voided and returned with the scorable shipment.
    • For students taking a STAAR Alternate 2 assessment, use “S” for Score.
    • For students taking a TELPAS assessment, use “S” for Score.
    • For students taking TELPAS Alternate, use “S” for Score.


7. What score code should a district use for a student who is homebound and cannot test?

In general, use “A” for Absent. Use "O" for Other if the student is able to participate in instruction but not in testing. The district testing coordinator may be able to request a medical exclusion for this student to remove the student from the district's accountability calculations.


8. What score code should a district use for a student who is expelled?

In many cases, the student has been moved to an alternate campus, disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP), or juvenile justice alternative education program (JJAEP), and should test there. (See Paper Administrations in Alternative Education Settings or Online Administrations in Alternative Education Settings.) If the student is no longer enrolled in the district, then the answer document should be voided.


9. What score code should a district use for a student who is suspended?

If the student is suspended during the entire testing window, use “A” for Absent. However, most suspensions are 1–3 days, so it is likely the student will be able to test.


10. What score code should a district use for a student who is not able to finish testing?

The district must determine whether the student’s score code should be “O” for Other or “S” for Score. 


11. What should a district do if the student information on the pre-ID label is incorrect?

If any student information (first name, last name, student ID, or date of birth) is incorrect, the district should update the student information in the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE), and a new, on-demand pre-ID label should be printed from TIDE using the blank label stock provided in boxes.


12. What should districts do with unused pre-ID labels?

The district should return unused pre-ID labels (e.g., student tested online or above grade level for all tests indicated on the answer document, student not enrolled in district) with their nonscorable shipment.


13. What students are classified as “New to Texas”?

Any student who transferred from out-of-state or out-of-country directly into the school district or charter school during the current school year (August 1–July 31) is considered “New to Texas,” and districts should indicate this on the answer document.


 14. What should a district do when a student has written the composition upside down?

Submit it for scoring. The vendor can scan it and score it as is.


15. What should a district do if an answer document becomes unusable (used a pen in the response or bar code area, has a tear in the in the response or bar code area, has food or drink remnants in the response or bar code area)? (Transcribing Student Responses for STAAR)

If an answer document becomes unusable for one of the reasons listed above, the district should transcribe the student’s responses onto a blank answer document following transcribing procedures.

Accessibility

16. Do districts need to record accommodations if students didn’t use them?

Yes. Districts should record the accommodation that is documented and made available to a student, even if the student did not use the accommodation during testing. This includes accommodations that are made available to a student in an unexpected or emergency situation. Districts should complete the accommodations field according to the directions included in the Testing information section.


17. What should a district record for students who use accessibility features?

Nothing. There is no need to document the use of accessibility features.

       

18. What should a district do if they incorrectly provided a calculator to a student (e.g., a general grade 7 student taking mathematics)?

If the student is still testing, the test administrator should take away the calculator and allow the student to complete the test. The test should be scored, and a procedural testing irregularity form for an accommodation error should be completed. If the student has completed testing, the test should be scored, and an irregularity form should be completed.

English Learners

19. What score code should a district use for an asylee/refugee who is exempt from taking STAAR grades 3–8?

Use “O” for Other score code.


20. What score code should a district use for an English learner (EL) who is not retaking the STAAR English I EOC assessment because of the special provision?

The answer document should be voided and returned with the scorable shipment.


21. If a student is absent frequently throughout the TELPAS testing window, what score code should be used for the student’s online test? 

The student should be provided an opportunity to test. If the district knows that a student is frequently absent, the district should make every attempt to assess the student. If the district is unable to test the student, the score code would be “A” for absent. This should be a rare occurrence since the TELPAS testing window is over multiple weeks. 

Students Receiving Special Education Services

22. What should a district do with a pre-ID label for an EOC student receiving special education services who has failed the first administration and whose admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee has determined the student does not need to participate in a retest opportunity?

The pre-ID label should be returned with the nonscorable shipment.


23. What should a district do with a pre-ID label for a student who will be taking STAAR Alternate 2?

The pre-ID label should be returned with the nonscorable shipment.


24. What should a district do if it does not provide an individualized education program (IEP) required accommodation to a student?

If this is discovered while the student is still testing, the district should provide the accommodation and continue testing. If this is discovered after testing, the district should decide if the lack of the accommodation invalidates the test. If so, use “O” for Other score code. If it does not invalidate the test, use “S” for Score. The district should consider whether the test is a required for graduation and should also inform the parents of the error. A procedural testing irregularity form for an accommodation error should be completed.


25. What should a district do if a student was tested with TELPAS but should have been coded as an admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) Decision per the ARD committee and language proficiency assessment committee (LPAC)?

If the student completed the test and the test was submitted, inform the district that the score code should be changed in TIDE to "X-ARD Decision." If the student was stopped during the test, the test should be force completed with a score code "X-ARD Decision." Parents should be notified that their child was tested. A procedural testing irregularity form for an eligibility error should be completed.


26. Do all 40 Observable Behaviors have to be completed in order to submit the test?

Yes, all 40 Observable Behaviors must be completed or the system will not be able to score the assessment.

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