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Only 15 Percent Pass English I Writing in Latest STAAR Tests

Texas Education Agency
A sample English I writing question, released from the 2011 STAAR test.

The English I writing exam is giving Texas students trouble.

According to the Texas Education Agency, only 15 percent of students who took the writing exam in December – part of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test – passed. And most of those students were taking it for the second time.

“Even though it wasn’t something we encouraged, to be honest, there were a lot of schools that moved to a more formulaic style of writing under our previous testing systems,” says TEA spokesperson Debbie Ratcliffe. “And the style we’re asking students to now is more the type of writing they’d need to do in a job or college.”

In Texas, 24 percent of juniors are still not on track to graduate in 2015, according to additional results released by the TEA. More than half of those students still need to pass more than one standardized test.

In a statement, TEA Commissioner Michael Williams says these numbers should improve, especially with the implementation of House Bill 5. Passed last legislative session, HB 5 reduced the number of standardized tests from 15 to 5, which Williams says will give schools more flexibility.

Below, more data on passing rates in the most recent round of STAAR testing (which. again, mainly involved retesters):

  • U.S. history – 67 percent passed (8,281 tested)
  • Biology – 42 percent passed (46,366 tested)
  • English I Reading – 37 percent passed (109,970 tested)
  • English II Reading – 35 percent passed (52,039 tested)
  • English II Writing – 33 percent passed (93,715 tested)
  • Algebra I – 30 percent passed (67,020 tested)
  • English I Writing – 15 percent passed (153,375 tested)
Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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