- Associated Press - Saturday, February 6, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A panel considering updates to standardized tests for Texas students received suggestions ranging from offering the exams online to no longer requiring students to pass the tests to graduate from high school, a newspaper reported.

The Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability has been looking at ways to improve or even replace the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STARR, the Austin American-Statesman reported (https://atxne.ws/1QjQkaJ ).

Public comment will be accepted Feb. 23 at the commission’s meeting in Austin. Recommendations must be forwarded to Texas legislators by September.

The commission was prompted in large part by criticism of the test’s rigor and stagnant student performance.

Among the ideas that educators, advocates and parents shared with the newspaper were shortening the state curriculum standards that the tests cover and replacing high school students’ end-of-course exams with the SAT or ACT.

STAAR scores aren’t returned until the summer. To give students and parents more immediate feedback, the Association of Texas Professional Educators suggested administering the tests online or giving students a series of smaller assessments throughout the year.

“A lot of people want multiple measures. They don’t want . just that one assessment on that one day,” said State Board of Education Chairwoman Donna Bahorich, who is spearheading public events across Texas to gather feedback for the commission. People feel “that we put tremendous amount of effort into having these assessments and yet the feedback that comes to people is nothing that means anything to them or the students,” she said.

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Information from: Austin American-Statesman, https://www.statesman.com

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