The following information was announced by TEA Student Assessment Division on November 1, 2016:
Beginning with the assessments administered in spring 2017, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is decreasing the number of test questions on the STAAR grades 3–8 assessments based on the requirements in House Bill (HB) 743.
HB 743 added §39.023 (a-12) to the Texas Education Code, which requires STAAR assessments to be designed so that 85% of students can complete the grades 3–5 assessments within 2 hours and 85% of students can complete the grades 6–8 assessments within 3 hours. To meet legislative requirements for reducing the length of each assessment while maintaining valid and reliable assessments, TEA has decreased the number of test questions on each of the STAAR grades 3–8 assessments. Since the passage of HB 743 in 2015, STAAR test blueprints for grades 3–8 have been reduced by removing from 5 to 14 test items.
In comparison to the 2015 tests, the STAAR grades 3–8 math tests have been shortened by 14 questions each.
In general, the decrease in the number of questions for the STAAR grades 3–8 assessments was spread proportionally across the reporting categories for each test. The change in the number of test questions under each reporting category can be seen in the updated STAAR test blueprints available on the STAAR Resources webpage (http://tea.texas.gov/student.assessment/staar/).
Because the blueprint reduction was applied proportionally across each test, the construct of what is assessed has not changed. Therefore, the shortened tests can be equated and scaled using the same performance standards. However, the raw score for each assessment will shift because the total number of test questions has shifted.
In 2017, TEA will resume embedding field-test questions for STAAR grades 3–8. However, the number of embedded field-test questions for mathematics, reading, science, and social studies has also been reduced from 8 to 6 questions.