English Language Learners participate in state assessments in several ways based on eligibility criteria.

  • Regular STAAR
  • Spanish version of STAAR (grades 3-5)
  • STAAR with linguistic accommodations (STAAR L)


Background of STAAR for SPECIAL POPULATIONS - English Language Learners

English Language Learners (ELLs) represent a diverse group of students who know English in varying degrees when they enter U.S. schools. It takes a number of years for a student who does not know English upon entry to U.S. schools to become fluent and able to use English effectively and independently in academic settings. Therefore, certain accommodations are provided.

ELLs participate in state assessments in several ways based on eligibility criteria. Under the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), ELLs could take regular tests, a Spanish version of TAKS in grades 3-5, or a TAKS test with linguistic accommodations. Additionally, certain immigrant ELLs may temporarily be granted a test exemption on the basis of limited English proficiency. ELLs also participate in the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS), a federally-required program that provides an annual measure of student progress in learning the English language.

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) is expected to continue these testing policies for ELLs.

Spanish versions of STAAR™
Spanish versions of STAAR for grades 3-5 will be developed in each grade and subject assessed by the STAAR English versions. The Spanish versions will be comparable to the English-version tests in content, rigor, and achievement standards. Spanish versions of STAAR for grades 3-5 will be implemented in spring 2012.

Linguistically Accommodated STAAR™ (STAAR L)
Computer-based linguistically accommodated versions of STAAR – currently referred to as STAAR L – are being developed for eligible ELLs in grades 3-8 and high school. ELLs not eligible to take STAAR L may be provided with limited linguistic accommodations, such as bilingual dictionaries, on the regular STAAR tests.

The online testing environment of STAAR L will include language assistance based on the students’ language proficiency level. For example, students will be able to click on some words to see definitions, synonyms and pictures to help with comprehension. Additionally, students may click on some words, phrases, part of a test question or an entire test question to hear the text read aloud.

A phase-in period may be necessary for the computer-based STAAR L so some of these assessments may be administered on paper in 2012.

Alignment of TELPAS with STAAR™?
The Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) will be adjusted as needed to ensure a strong link between academic language proficiency as defined by TELPAS and academic achievement as defined by STAAR.