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This week, students across the state will take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR tests. The state will use the results to grade individual school districts on an A-through-F scale.
Lawmakers passed the mandate to create the STAAR in 2009, aiming to make it more rigorous than its predecessor, the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. Advocates for the new test say it provides clear data on student performance. But critics say it forces schools to put too much focus on standardized tests.
Normally, fifth- and eighth-grade students can take the tests up to three times. If a student doesn't pass on the third try, he or she cannot advance to the next grade unless a committee of his or her educators and parents unanimously agrees to promote the student.
The Texas Education Commissioner sets the passing standard for the STAAR test. But the number of questions a student needs to answer correctly in order to pass varies annually.
Want to try your hand at some of the questions on typical biology, algebra and U.S. history STAAR tests? Take our quiz above, which includes tough questions pulled from prior tests.
Note: This story was inspired by a discussion on education policy happening now in our Facebook group, This is Your Texas. Sign up here to join the conversation.