Various Central Texas school districts participating in rollout of TTAP, pilot standardized testing program

The TTAP, or Texas Through-year Assessment Pilot, may replace the current STAAR test
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 5:19 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - After nearly 10 years of the statewide STAAR exams, Texas standardized testing may be getting a permanent makeover.

In 2019, the state passed a bill requiring the Texas Education Agency to pilot a new standardized testing system for schools, the Texas Through-Year Assessment Pilot, or TTAP.

The testing system is officially being rolled out for the first time this school year, with some Central Texas school districts, including Rogers, Robinson, Midway and McGregor ISDs, as the pioneers.

It was created as a possible replacement for the current STAAR tests given at the end of the school year, which are used to gauge how well students are doing in core subjects like reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Unlike the STAAR, however, which takes place on one day at the end of the school year, the TTAP is made up of three short testing opportunities throughout the year.

“It’s a shorter test, so it’s only like 15 or 18 questions compared to 60,” Joe Craig, the superintendent of Rogers ISD, told KWTX. “So it doesn’t take a complete change in your day, where you shut everything down for testing. You can basically do it in a class period.”

Proponents of the new exam say it puts less pressure on students, giving them more than just one day to showcase understanding of various subjects.

“It’s really one test on one day,” Kimberly Johnston, curriculum coordinator of Midway ISD, said of the STAAR. “So on any given day, it may not be a student’s best day. We know kids’ lives, things happen. And so, when we compare that to TTAP, the pro of that becomes that we’re truly giving it to them in small doses, and I like measuring the growth throughout one school year.”

But the TTAP isn’t without its flaws.

“It’s still kind of the end-of-the-year test, but given early in the year,” Craig said. “So there’s things on that test that our students haven’t even been taught yet.”

Even with some challenges to work through, the feedback from one Midway ISD 5th grader who just took her first exam, which tested science, is positive.

“Science isn’t my best subject, so it was pretty hard,” Lela Swartz, a Midway ISD student, told KWTX. “But it was kind of like the STAAR, not too much different, and I liked it. I prefer shorter tests, because long tests are just harder because you get tired at the end.”

Those looking to learn more about the rollout can do so here.