At its last meeting of the year, held last week in Austin, the State Board of Education received several updates from Commissioner of Education Mike Morath. Morath led a discussion on HB 3906, passed this last legislative session. The bill called for changes to the STAAR test, including a cap of 75 percent on the number of STAAR questions that can be in multiple choice format. According to the commissioner, changes will be coming to the test, but it will likely take a couple of years to field test this requirement.
Also required by HB 3906, a study is underway for the readability of STAAR test based on concerns that its questions are written at reading levels above the grade level tested. According to Morath, The University of Texas had started work on the study and the first wave of results are expected in December with a second round in February.
SBOE Member Marisa Perez-Diaz (D-San Antonio) raised concern that teachers from across Texas could not feasibly provide meaningful input for these measures due to the inability to leave the classroom. In response, Morath stated that the agency attempts to schedule educator advisory meetings in a way that would least impact educators and has provided districts substitutes for those who want to participate. Morath agreed to share a link to the application for educator involvement and screening process with Perez-Diaz.