House Bill 2836 eliminates the STAAR writing tests for students in fourth and seventh grades, as well as time limits on tests for other students. House Bill 2836 also eliminates the four-hour time limit per test in third through eighth grades and limits the number of local benchmark tests to no more than two per state test.
If the two writing exams are eliminated, students will take their first STAAR writing exam in the ninth grade.
Debbie Ratcliffe, director of media relations for the Texas Education Agency said the passing of the bill reflects the "anti-testing" sentiment trending in the Legislature.
Two local area superintendents believe eliminating the test will not affect writing instruction in the classroom and testing standards make it difficult for educators to teach concepts exhaustively.
"The number of tests doesn't change much, but the most meaningful part is using readiness standards," one superintendent said, referring to the content on STAAR tests aimed at preparing students for college and a career. "Teachers have flexibility to teach readiness standards to a deeper level instead of having to speed through... It doesn't take away the high-stakes nature of the test, but it does adjust them."