English Language Learners | ELL Section 504 | Special Education STAAR | EOC Testing

Real STAAR Tips: How “Hustle Mom” Comes Up Short

Dallas area blogger “Hustle Mom” aka Dawn Monroe has come up with a handy dandy list of tips for parents to help their kids excel on STAAR, and at the same time makes a gratuitous (or not) plug for family-centered McDonalds.

Despite apparently recognizing that “[t]eachers and students prepare for this test all year long, and the stress it often brings is enough to fill the entire state,” Hustle Mom wants to make sure you eek out those last extra points on STAAR.  She gives handy tips like study old STAAR assessments and don’t stress your kid out. Great tips, but it’s just a start.  Here’s my comment to Hustle Mom, which I am going to guess she won’t approve for posting on her blog.

This list is a great start, but let me add a few other suggestions to really make sure your kid does great on STAAR.

#1. Start working an extra job or increase your employability. Since STAAR results have shown to most closely align with the socio-economic status of the family, you can really give your kid a boost by bringing home a little more bacon each week.  See generally “The Widening Income Achievement Gap

#2. Don’t waste time reading books with your kid. STAAR only tests “close reading” of very brief passages. So rather than waste valuable parent-child time bonding over bedtime stories, or encouraging your child to engage his mind and imagination with juvenile fiction, try to vary each night 3-6 paragraph selections of non-fiction and fiction, and come up with your own multiple choice questions. Fun for the whole family!

#3. Practice bubbling. We all know that most employers are insistent on knowing how you did on your elementary level standardized assessments. I keep my results laminated in my wallet, don’t you? Since stray marks can count against kids, it’s time to put away coloring books or the watercolor set and really focus on fully darkening ovals, but not going outside the lines! Let’s face it. Isn’t competitiveness in today’s world marked by not going outside the lines?

#4. Learn not to be dyslexic (or a non-native speaker). If your child is really serious about STAAR success, some extra sacrifice may be required. Since the failure rates of students with learning disabilities and English language learners are exponentially higher than general ed students, if your kid is one of those unlucky ones, work really hard with them to not be dyslexic or to grow up speaking only English. Sure they take the same assessment as anyone else, but the TEA gives them special accommodations. Mind you the research shows that those accommodations only help general ed students not their target group. LOL! Man, the STAAR is full of irony. So if you really want your kid to do well, make sure you teach them to stop being dyslexic.

If none of those ideas will work for you, you might just want to Opt Out and enjoy life during the STAAR days!

Section 504 | Special Education STAAR | EOC Testing

Seguin ISD Files Due Process Complaint Against TEA

Finally! A district has realized the can and must stand up for their students with regard to STAAR assessment.

Although this is a limited scope complaint, it marks, to our knowledge, the first formal complaint made against the TEA for accommodation issues relating to STAAR.

TPERN salutes the Seguin ISD for taking this long overdue action and putting its students before political politeness.

Seguin ISD files complaint against TEA


Section 504 | Special Education STAAR | EOC Testing

The GPC Process – TEA Flowcharts

For parents of 5th and 8th graders who have opted out or failed STAAR, these flow charts show the process for determination of Accelerated Instruction and Promotion/Retention.

General Education Students (p. 8 of SSI Manual)

gpc process - gened

Special Education

For special education students, the ARD committee acts as the GPC. (p. 27 of SSI manual)

gpc for sped

Section 504 | Special Education

Ten Common Mistakes Parents Make During the IEP Meeting

. . . It is important that parents become informed and involved in their child’s education. There are many sources of information and support in your state. However, the more skills you have and the more information you learn, the better you can advocate for your child. Over the past few years we have found that parents tend to make some common mistakes during the Individual Education Program (IEP) meeting. The following is a list of the common mistakes and some suggestions for avoiding them: . . .

Full Article Here (Kids Together, Inc.)

English Language Learners | ELL Section 504 | Special Education STAAR | EOC Testing

TPERN Opposes Proposed STAAR Percentile Rule

On December 19, 2014, the TEA published a proposed amendment to 19 TAC §101.3041, dealing with STAAR performance standards.  This proposed rule ostensibly provides for the publication of percentile ranks on the STAAR, theoretically making comparison between test takers easier.  (TPERN believes that the purpose of an academic readiness assessment is to determine readiness of the individual student, not to provide for comparisons to other students).  However, the rule is confusing and raises the possibility that the published information could be misused by school districts in making promotion and retention decisions.  Moreover, the TEA found it necessary to publish a proposed formula for converting all STAAR scores to a 1-100 scale.  While the current formula is simply a restatement of what a percentile is, the inclusion of the formula leaves the conversion method open to amendment.  The formula could later be altered to create a “grade” that is percentile based, but not the actual percentile rank.  We think this is an improper use of an assessment instrument, and the rule should prohibit local districts from using the 1 – 100 percentile based score as a part of grades or promotion or retention decisions.  For that reason, TPERN has submitted a public comment in opposition to the rule urging various revisions before the rule is adopted.

Public comment on this proposed rule is open until January 20, 2015.  Comments may be mailed to

To view the TPERN submitted comment, click Read More