STAAR Testing
STAAR™ : Special Populations

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) will include additional test formats to accommodate students receiving special education services and English Language Learners:
  • STAAR Alternate
  • STAAR L (linguistically accommodated)
STAAR will include additional test formats to accommodate students served through special education and English Language Learners. These accommodations may include assessing ability with a different test design and/or allowing supplemental aids during testing.

More information about STAAR for these student groups can be found below.

Students Served Through Special Education

As under the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee will decide which State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) assessment a student served through special education should take based on his/her abilities and participation requirements. ARD committees will continue to consider the needs of each student and select accommodations and supplemental aids that are required on a routine basis and are necessary to support the student’s success during assessments.

All students served through special education must have access to grade-level curriculum. Students with disabilities that are recommended for a modified exam will either receive instruction within the general education classroom or in a special education setting with a modified curriculum and expectation, as recommended by their ARD committee. More information about the STAAR modified assessments can be found below.

STAAR Alternate

The STAAR Alternate assessments will be very similar in design to the TAKS-Alt assessments and continue to reflect an online portfolio created by the special education teacher, which will be submitted to the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Students will continue to perform standardized assessment tasks linked to the grade-level Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) that measure student progress on skills aligned with the academic grade-level content standards. However, STAAR Alternate will incorporate a vertical alignment in the program’s assessment tasks, and the high school assessments will move from grade-level assessments to course-based assessments.

STAAR Alternate assessments will reflect the same increased rigor and focus of the general and modified assessments. High school students who take the STAAR Modified or STAAR Alternate EOC assessments will graduate under the Minimum graduation plan and will not meet acceptance requirements for a four-year state college/university.

More information from the Special Education Department

STAAR Alternate is the only alternate assessment offered for students with significant, cognitive disabilities, grades 3 – 12.  Compared to TAKS Alternate, STAAR Alternate is more rigorous: focus on fewer skills, address skills in a deeper manner and provide a more clearly articulated assessment program.  The ARD Committee will select the STAAR Alternate assessment for students who meet the participation requirements for the student’s enrolled grade level. For students in grades 9, 10, 11, 12 ARD committee will determine which EOC courses listed will be addressed each year.
STAAR, STAAR Modified and STAAR Alternate will be statewide assessment used for grades 3-8.  High school students entering the 2011-2012 school year entering as freshman are assessed using STAAR End of Course (EOC) assessments. High school students that entered prior to 2011-2012 school year will still be assessed using TAKS, unless the ARD determines that the student must be assessed using an alternate format, therefore a STAAR Alternate would be administered. For more information, review the Texas Education Agency (TEA) website: or for students receiving services through special education.

Will there be a STAAR Accommodated test?

There will not be a specific form of the test called STAAR Accommodated as there was under TAKS. Rather, students needing accommodations will take the general STAAR tests on grade level and be provided with accommodations directed by their ARD/Individual Education Plan (IEP), which comply with the accepted accommodations published by the Texas Education Agency.

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