Raise Your Hand Texas Recommends Reforms of State’s STAAR Test and Public Education Accountability System

October 25, 2022 |

Contact:
Anne Lasseigne Tiedt, APR
Senior Director of Strategic Communications, Raise Your Hand Texas
[email protected], (512) 784-3805

Raise Your Hand Texas Recommends Reforms of State’s STAAR Test and Public Education Accountability System

New Report Sets Pathway Toward Designing World-Class Education System

AUSTIN, TX (October 25, 2022) – Today, Raise Your Hand Texas released A Report from the Measure What Matters Assessment & Accountability Council, an extensive report with actionable policy recommendations on learning, testing, and effectively measuring Texas’ public schools and students. The report provides a call to action and roadmap for state lawmakers to consider during the 88th Legislative Session.

“For far too long Texas has overemphasized high-stakes, single-day student testing as the sole indicator of school and student performance,” said Dr. Libby Cohen, senior director of advocacy at Raise Your Hand Texas. “That’s too narrow of a measure, and we can do better in crafting a world-class accountability and testing system.”

Policy recommendations are based on more than a year of statewide community conversations, data collection, analysis, surveys, and research. Policy recommendations include:

Assessment and Testing

  • Remove all high-stakes consequences for students. STAAR tests should be one of many assessment tools to inform classroom instruction and monitor student progress. 
  • Reduce the number of STAAR tests to align with federal testing requirements. Eliminate tests that are not required by federal law. 
  • Require the Texas Education Agency to report to the Legislature on the progress of the Texas Through-Year Assessment Pilot (TTAP) school districts. Assessments must help inform classroom instruction for all students. 

Accountability

  • Expand the traditional definition of a good school beyond STAAR test scores in Texas’ current A-F accountability ratings system. Add indicators such as student safety, teacher quality, access to enrichment programs, and career and workforce indicators. 
  • Limit the high-stakes nature of STAAR tests used to calculate school accountability ratings. STAAR test results may only count for up to 50% of any domain or overall school in a reformed accountability system. 
  • Use individual domain letter grades to inform parents, educators, and communities about what is working well and what needs to be improved in their schools. Increase transparency by removing the summative A-F rating and providing ratings across all indicators. 

Local Accountability System

  • Explore new approaches to school accountability ratings. The Texas Education Agency should produce a report on alternative accountability rating systems, including local, community-based, and benefits-based systems showing improvement over time.

The complete list of recommendations and necessary legislative actions can be found on the Raise Your Hand Texas website

“We see a path forward to provide meaningful ways to measure student learning and define what it means to provide an excellent education to all students,” said Dr. Kelli Moulton, Texas Association of School Administrators executive superintendent and Measure What Matters Council chair. “The Texas Legislature has the opportunity to refresh our accountability and testing system, and we hope the Measure What Matters recommendations provide the necessary framework to do so.” 

The report reflects more than a year of work in the field by Raise Your Hand Texas’ Regional Advocacy Directors, the Measure What Matters Council on Assessment & Accountability, and additional research and survey results. 

Texas voters, parents, and community leaders also strongly support meaningful change for the state’s assessment and accountability system.

As part of the Raise Your Hand Texas Texas Voices Campaign, over 80% of respondents said they do not believe the STAAR test alone can effectively measure the “full range of things that make a good school.” A 2022 Charles Butt Foundation poll found that most Texans are skeptical that the STAAR effectively measures how well a student is learning. In the same poll, 83% of Texans believe the Texas Education Agency should not base its A-F letter grades entirely on STAAR test scores for Texas public schools. 

The Measure What Matters Council is an issue-based, non-partisan convening of education leaders, researchers, policymakers, and community leaders. The Council is composed of fifteen members of various educational, policy, and business leadership backgrounds. Dr. Kelli Moulton chaired the Council, and Dee Carney served as a consultant for the group.

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Raise Your Hand Texas supports public policy solutions that invest in our students, encourage innovation and autonomy, and improve college and workforce readiness. For more information, visit www.RaiseYourHandTexas.org 

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