Fifth graders and eighth graders of all Texas public school districts do not have to pass the end-of-year state math exams, in order to pass to the next grade level. However, it is only for this year, and it doesn't mean students will be given a break.
This school year, your fifth and eighth grader will be affected by new curriculum standards set in place by the Texas Education Agency. Since math was one subject drastically changed, standards for the end-of-year test have not been put in place yet. As UISD's Director of Instructional Accountability Emma Leza says this year will be more of an assessment. Leza explains, "So, therefore, the state must assess and then they're going to look at how the students throughout the state of Texas did on the exams before they set those standards."
This is what will happen in all districts including LISD. As LISD's Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction Bobbi Ramirez says, it doesn't mean students get a free-pass. "As we go along through the school year, we will be having our own CBA tests and bench marks. We will be gauging where the students are in terms of their mastery of the objectives, so that we can make a strong recommendation at the end of the school year."
As for teachers, they have been trained and prepared for the changes and challenges of this transitional year. UISD students will also be promoted based on their grades and attendance. Leza adds, "They still must attend 90 percent of the time. The attendance rule is still in place. They must also get a 70 or better in their final average in order to pass the math portion of their curriculum."
Fifth grader Miranda Espino says she has her favorite subject, "Reading is exciting to me. I get to learn a lot." But when it comes to math, she says, "It's a bit harder for me." And even when it was explained to her that she didn't have to pass the math state test, she said, "To keep studying. Even though it's going to be easier, we still have to study hard."
It's important to keep in mind that fifth and eighth graders must pass the reading portion of the STAAR to advance grade level. And, another thing, this is only part of the transitional year. Next year, the standards will be put in place and everyone will be required to pass the whole state exam to pass on to the next grade level.
This is not the first time something like this is done. It is usually done as a period for adjustment when the state changes the curriculum for the districts.