According to districtwide results posted Aug. 16, Northwest ISD continues to outperform state averages on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.

The backstory

The Texas Education Agency redesigned STAAR tests in 2023 as a result of House Bill 3906 passed by the 86th Texas Legislature in 2019, according to a TEA news release.

The release states that the STAAR redesign includes several components to better align with classroom instruction. These components include online testing and accommodations, new question types, cross-curricular passages and evidence-based writing.

The release also states that the new question types reflect classroom test questions, which allow students more ways to show their understanding learned in class. While the test was administered almost exclusively online, students requiring certain accommodations could still complete paper exams.

The details

According to TEA, STAAR is administered for the following grades and subjects:
  • Grades 3-8 mathematics
  • Grades 3-8 reading
  • Grades 4 and 7 writing
  • Grades 5 and 8 science
  • Grade 8 social studies
STAAR passing rates showed that third to eighth grade students in Northwest ISD outperformed statewide averages in both reading and math. The largest point difference was in the seventh grade reading passing rates, with an 11 percentage point difference between Northwest ISD and statewide students’ passing rates. Fourth grade math passing rates had the smallest point difference with Northwest ISD passing rates edging out statewide averages by just one point.
Diving in deeper

According to TEA, STAAR is an assessment program designed to measure the extent to which students have learned and are able to apply the knowledge and skills defined in the state-mandated curriculum standards. However, Northwest ISD officials said that rather than fixating on one test, they focus on personalized learning experiences, individual student growth and meeting the academic needs of all students.

What they're saying

A statement from the district released Aug. 16 says: “This year, the TEA embarked on significant changes to student and school performance measures, including a redesign of STAAR exams featuring new question types and performance standards. At the same time these changes were made, TEA completely overhauled its accountability system.”

The statement went on to question the reliability of a statewide test administered in one day.

“In Northwest ISD, we do not believe a single-day assessment defines student or school success,” the statement says. “We hope TEA will not implement simultaneous overhauls of both the STAAR exam and A-F accountability system in the future. When these wholesale changes are made at the same time, it calls into question the validity of both systems.”