Approval of Costs of Administering the 2011-2012
State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR™) and Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) to Private School Students
November 18, 2011
COMMITTEE ON SCHOOL FINANCE/PERMANENT SCHOOL FUND: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: CONSENT
SUMMARY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §39.033, provides for the voluntary assessment of Texas private school students with the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) and Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). The State Board of Education (SBOE) is charged with determining the per-student cost to private schools, which may not exceed the cost of administering the same assessment to a student enrolled in a public school district. This item requests approval of these costs for the 2011-2012 school year.
STATUTORY AUTHORITY: TEC, §39.033.
PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: In November 2010, the SBOE approved the costs of administering the 2010-2011 TAKS assessments to private school students.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES: Since the spring 1996 test administration, private schools, including home schools, have been eligible to participate on a voluntary basis in the Texas assessment program. During the 2010-2011 school year, private school participation in these voluntary assessments for grades 3 through 11 involved 28 private schools and 1,637 students. Attachment I lists the private schools that participated in the voluntary assessments in 2011.
Under TEC, §39.033, private schools that administer the tests must enter into an agreement with the Texas Education Agency. The agreement requires private schools, as determined appropriate by the commissioner of education, to provide the commissioner the information listed in TEC, §39.053(c) and §39.301(c), which includes information to be used as indicators of academic performance, and to maintain confidentiality as required under TEC, §39.030. Private schools that participate in the assessment must provide reimbursement for the cost of administering the assessment, which may not exceed the per-student cost of administering the same assessment to a student enrolled in a public school district. In addition, participating private schools must agree to test all eligible students and to administer the primary form of all subject-area tests available for a particular grade.
A critical component of the contract with private schools is the per-student cost for each instrument, which must be determined by the SBOE. Attachment II displays the per-student cost for each test that will be available to private schools in the 2011-2012 school year. These figures were derived by taking the costs from the agency's contract for fiscal year 2011 with Pearson, the contractor for the testing program, and dividing by the number of answer documents scanned for each grade and test administered during the 2010-2011 school year. Using this method for determining the per-student cost ensures that the cost for assessing a private school student will not exceed the per-student cost for administering the same test to a public school student. Costs cover developing tests and ancillary materials; printing, packaging, and shipping test materials; scoring tests; and reporting results. Attachment II also provides assurance from Pearson that these costs do not exceed per-student test costs for the public schools.
FISCAL IMPACT: The figures provided in Attachment II cover the costs of administering selected state assessments, including STAAR, STAAR Modified in English and Spanish, TAKS at grades 10 and 11, TAKS (Accommodated) and TAKS-Modified (TAKS-M) at grades 10-12, and the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS); there are no additional fiscal implications.
PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT: Both the public and students will benefit from the approval of these private school testing cost figures. Private schools can administer state-developed tests and use test results for program planning and as a guide for individual student remediation. Public schools will benefit in that students entering public school systems from private schools may have test scores available on the same instruments for which public schools are held accountable.
PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS: Private schools choosing to administer the statewide tests must agree to follow standard procedures for test administration, maintain security and confidentiality, and report to the commissioner their test results and other information outlined in TEC, §39.053(c) and §39.301(c).
PUBLIC COMMENTS: None.
OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES: None.
COMMISSIONER'S RECOMMENDATION: I recommend that the State Board of Education:
Approve the per-student costs for administering the TAKS tests to private school students in 2011-2012 as listed in Attachment II.
Commissioner of Education
Staff Members Responsible:
Criss Cloudt, Associate Commissioner
Assessment and Accountability
Gloria Zyskowski, Division Director
I. 2011 Spring Administration of TAKS – Participation of Private Schools
II. Letter of Assurance from Pearson and Costs for Administering Tests to Private School Students, 2011-2012