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Statewide Testing Changes Begin This Week

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There will be some changes for thousands of Texas public school children as they settle in this week to take the state’s standardizedSTAARtests.

Story airing on Texas Public Radio

  Now, the exams given in grades three through eight will have to be completed within specific amounts of time. 

The Texas Education Agency’s DeEtta Culbertson says previously testing on a single subject sometimes lasted a full day or two.  Parent groups told state lawmakers last year that placed too much stress on children and their teachers.  The legislature passed House Bill 743 in response.

“I think they were hearing a lot about test stress and an overabundance of prep work, and so this was I believe one way they were trying to alleviate some of that,” Culbertson said.

The writing test given to fourth and seventh graders will now have to be completed within four hours. Next school year other tests given will have to be completed in a maximum two or three hours.

Another change this year:  the number of questions students must answer correctly to pass is going up.  Culbertson says the state placed a hold on higher testing standards while school districts became familiar with the STAAR exam.  Now, the tougher grading is being phased in. 

Copyright 2016 Texas Public Radio

Shelley Kofler is managing editor/senior reporter forKERANews. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who has served asKERAnews director and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliateWFAA-TV. Her expertise on legislative policy issues includes school finance, foster care and transportation; and her stories on the overmedication of foster children captured the attention of state officials who strengthened laws for the use of psychotropic drugs.