Test Security

Test Security and Confidentiality

Maintaining the security and confidentiality of the Texas Assessment Program is critical for ensuring fair and equal testing opportunities for all Texas students. Given the many uses of student performance data and the need to assure educators, parents, students, and the public that test results are meaningful and valid, it is imperative that all individuals participating in the Texas Assessment Program preserve the integrity of test content and student data through strict adherence to the instructions and procedures contained in these Coordinator Resources and the test administrator manuals.

The superintendent and campus principals in each school district, the chief administrative officer of each charter school, and the leadership of any private school administering tests must develop procedures to ensure the security and confidentiality of the state assessments, including fall, spring, and summer testing, as well as any field testing, mandatory sampling, and optional testing conducted. These administrators must also ensure that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Student Assessment Division is notified in accordance with assessment program reporting requirements of any conduct that potentially violates the security or confidentiality of a test. Failure to properly report that an individual has engaged in conduct that potentially violates the security or confidentiality of a test or failure to cooperate with TEA in an investigation is itself a violation and could result in disciplinary action.

District and campus coordinators are responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all district personnel who participate in state-mandated testing or handle secure testing materials meet the eligibility requirements detailed in the appropriate test administration materials, have been trained in test security and administration procedures at least once, and sign an Oath of Test Security and Confidentiality.

  • Ensuring that all staff members who handle test materials are made aware that the materials may contain secure test content and that any viewing, discussing, or recording of this confidential information is strictly prohibited.

  • Informing test administrators who have permission to view secure content in order to provide an approved designated support or as part of the program-specific test administration process, including transcribing student responses into DEI, that responding to test questions, recording the information they see, scoring a test, or discussing the content of a test at any time is strictly prohibited.

  • Ensuring that noncertified staff members who access secure materials or administer tests are supervised by certified staff members. The certified staff member may be, for example, a supervising teacher, a campus principal or assistant principal, or a campus testing coordinator. The certified staff member must be made aware that if the noncertified staff member is involved in a violation of test security or confidentiality, the supervising certified staff member is subject to disciplinary action.

  • Verifying that procedures are in place to collect and promptly destroy test session IDs and student test tickets, as well as any reference materials, scratch paper, graph paper, or recordings used during the test administration. Test tickets are not secure, but since they contain personally identifiable information, they are confidential and must be destroyed.

Secure Materials

All programs under the Texas Assessment Program, including optional, pilot, and field-test programs, are secure testing programs. These programs include the following:

  • State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®)

  • STAAR Spanish

  • STAAR Alternate 2

  • Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS)

  • TELPAS Alternate

  • STAAR Interim Assessments

  • Texas Through-year Assessment Pilot (TTAP)

 

The contents of these tests, including student information used or obtained in their administration, are confidential. The contents include the following:

  • all online assessments

  • all online test session IDs

  • all test booklets

  • all secure test instructions

  • all STAAR Alternate 2 image cards

  • all STAAR Alternate 2 scoring documents

  • all TELPAS holistic ratings

  • all TELPAS calibration activities

  • all TELPAS Alternate observable behaviors ratings

Maintaining Security of Test Materials

Test security involves accounting for all secure materials before, during, and after each test administration. All secure test materials must be handled in strict accordance with the instructions contained in these Coordinator Resources and the test administrator manuals.

District and campus coordinators must identify a suitable location where secure test materials can be kept in locked storage when not in use. Access to these secure locations should be limited to no more than a few essential personnel, and these individuals should be the only people who possess keys to the storage area. District coordinators should regularly affirm that all campuses are following these storage requirements.