March 22, 2010 - ‘Tis the season for state assessments and a much added stress for students and teachers. State assessment occurs each and every year, but the fears and anticipation associated with the assessment has not gone away.
For more than 25 years, Texas has had a statewide student assessment program. Over time, changes to state and federal statute as well as to the state-mandated curriculum, currently the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), have required the Texas Education Agency to expand the state assessment program, making it more inclusive of and accessible to all student groups. Whether students are served through general education, special education, or bilingual/English as a Second Language programs, the state tests provide a snapshot of the degree to which students are learning the TEKS. As a result of this snapshot, students can receive the additional help they need to strengthen their knowledge and skills in core academic areas and districts and campuses can evaluate the effectiveness of their instructional programs. In this way, the state assessment program plays an important role in helping all students—no matter what their instructional setting—reach their academic potential. TAKS includes an accommodated form called TAKS (Accommodated) for students served by special education who meet the eligibility requirements for certain specific accommodations. The TAKS (Accommodated) form includes format accommodations (larger font, fewer items per page, etc.) and contains no embedded field-test items. TAKS (Accommodated) is available for all English- and Spanish- version TAKS assessments.
TAKS measures a student’s mastery of the state-mandated curriculum, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). TAKS is administered for Grades 3–9 reading, Grades 3–10 and exit level mathematics, Grades 4 and 7 writing, Grade 10 and exit level English language arts (ELA), Grades 5, 8, 10, and exit level science, Grades 8, 10, and exit level social studies. Eligible students may meet testing requirements with Spanish-version TAKS assessments, available for Grades 3–5 reading, Grades 3–5 mathematics, Grade 4 writing, and Grade 5 science.
Senate Bill (SB) 1031 mandates the development of end-of-course (EOC) assessments for secondary-level courses in Algebra I, Algebra II, geometry, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, English II, English III, world geography, world history, and United States history. The purpose of the new EOC assessments is to measure students’ academic performance in core high school courses and to become part of the graduation requirements starting with the freshman class of 2011–2012. The EOC assessments for lower-level courses will include questions that determine readiness for advanced coursework. The assessments for higher-level courses will include a separate series of special purpose questions that measure college readiness and the need for developmental coursework in higher education. In addition, the score a student achieves on each EOC assessment will be worth 15% of the student’s final grade for that course. (Source of text – Texas Education Agency)
The last 9 weeks of the school year has just begun! It is hard to believe it is all coming to an end so quickly; however, we have MANY important instructional moments left to go. Some of the most important lessons are yet to come, so PLEASE help us, get your kiddos in school each and every day!
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