By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff
TOOL — The Malakoff ISD school board officially moved forward this week to request a delay in the so-called STARR 15-percent rule.
The action came during Monday’s regular board meeting held at the Tool Elementary School.
“I have felt all along that the 15 percent rule was unfair to our ninth graders,” MISD Superintendent Randy Perry told school board members in February, when the issue was first addressed. “They are the guinea pigs in this new system.”
The rule requires the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course tests to count as 15 percent of a student’s final grade.
The STAAR is replacing the TAKS. According to the Texas Education Agency: “The STAAR program at grades 3–8 will assess the same subjects and grades that are currently assessed on TAKS. At high school, however, grade-specific assessments will be replaced with 12 end-of-course assessments: Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, English II, English III, world geography, world history, and U.S. history.”
As things were, Perry said, 15 percent of a freshman’s end-of-course grade would have been based on a test no educator has actually seen.
“(The student’s) GPA and class rank could be adversely affected for their entire high school career,” he said. “Some of these ninth graders may fail the new test and lose credit, even if they passed in the classroom for the year.”
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) gave school districts the option of delaying the rule one year in February.
In a statement following the announcement, Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott said the move came “after receiving input from parents, educators and State Board of Education members, as well as … clarification from state leaders.”
“I remain committed to rigorous public school accountability,” Scott said. “The new assessment system will be better for students and educators.”