PLANNING FOR 2003
December 11, 2002
TO THE EDUCATOR ADDRESSED:
In July 2000, the Texas Education Agency committed
to providing planning reports to educators each year prior to
the spring 2003 administration of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge
and Skills (TAKS) that would contain analyses to assist in preparing
for new developments in assessment and accountability. This
correspondence is notification of the availability of the third
in that series of planning reports.
The 2003 Early Indicator Reports will be available
from the Texas Education Agency’s website by 10 a.m. on December
13, 2002. These reports are not being mailed to districts. To
view and/or print the reports, type the following address on
your web browser and follow the directions given at this site.
Printing instructions and answers to Frequently Asked Questions
are available by following the “help” link.
The 2002-03 school year began the process of change
that will have a major impact on Texas public school education
at every level. This year, 3rd grade students must pass the
state assessment in reading to be promoted without the consultation
of the grade placement committee. Beginning in 2003-04, high
school students in grade 11 will also be required to pass the
state assessments in English language arts, mathematics, science
and social studies in order to graduate. Simultaneously, the
rigor of those assessments will increase substantially. The
three changes highlighted below represent significant increases
in expectations for Texas public education:
• NEW STATE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM. Beginning this
year, the TAKS will be administered to students at grades
3 through 11. The new assessments are more rigorous than the
Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) tests of prior
years. This is because they are based on the more rigorous
state-mandated curriculum (the Texas Essential Knowledge and
Skills, or TEKS) and because they are linked in difficulty
to an exit-level testing requirement for graduation that incorporates
• TESTING REQUIREMENT FOR GRADUATION. As stated
above, the testing requirements for graduation will increase
and the exit-level test will be designed for the 11th grade.
Unlike the current exit-level tests administered in 10th grade
in reading, writing, and mathematics, the new grade 11 TAKS
tests will assess English language arts, mathematics, science,
and social studies, and require knowledge of Algebra I and
Geometry, Biology and integrated Chemistry and Physics, English
III, early American and United States History, world geography,
and world history. The class of 2005 (10th grade students
in 2002-03) will be the first class required to pass the TAKS
assessments in order to graduate. The first testing opportunity
on the new exit-level assessments for these students will
be the spring semester of 2003-04, when they will be in 11th
• STUDENT SUCCESS INITIATIVE. This school year
is also the first year of implementation of the Student Success
Initiative (SSI). Students in grade 3 must pass the state
assessment in reading to be promoted without the consultation
of a grade placement committee. Beginning in 2005, students
in grade 5 must pass reading and mathematics to be promoted;
beginning in 2008, students in grade 8 must pass reading and
mathematics to be promoted.
REPORT FOCUS. The Early Indicator Reports are
designed to highlight areas of performance that may need strengthening
in order for students to meet these new testing requirements.
Future accountability ratings will be based on student performance
results on these new assessments. However, the focus here is
to provide schools and districts with additional ways of reviewing
2002 TAAS and End-of-Course (EOC) results to assist with the
analysis of the skills and knowledge that students will need
to meet the TAKS testing requirements, especially those for
REPORT CONTENT. The report, titled 2003 Early
Indicator Report, December 2002, is generated for all districts
and campuses that serve students in grades 7 and above. The
2003 Early Indicator Report, December 2002 contains information
on the following topics. See the enclosed Glossary for details
about these topics.
• 2002 Grade 8 All TAAS Tests.
• 2002 Grade 8 TAAS By Subject.
* Cumulative End-of-Course Exam.
* End-of-Course Exam (as shown on 2001-02 AEIS).
* Class of 2001 Completion Rates (as shown on 2001-02 AEIS).
HOW TO USE THE REPORTS. All of this information
is for your use in planning. Please examine the data provided
and determine strengths and weaknesses of your current instructional
program so you can continue to prepare students for the new,
more rigorous graduation testing requirements, and make adjustments
when necessary. As you examine the reports, the magnitude of
the task ahead is clear. We have the remainder of this school
year and the 2003-04 school year to make the curriculum and
staff development adjustments needed before the first group
of 11th graders is held to this new standard. Students failing
one or more of the exit-level test sections will then have one
more year to pass in order to graduate on time with their class.
In addition to the December 2002 reports and associated Glossary,
a supplementary guide titled How to Use the 2003 Early Indicator
Report (Provided by the Texas Education Agency) is attached
to assist you.
Although the new assessment system and graduation
requirements represent significant increases in expectations
for our students, the increases in student performance achieved
over the last nine years are testimony to the ability of Texas
educators to respond to difficult challenges. The 11th graders
in 2004 and beyond who meet these higher exit-level expectations
will be the best-prepared young adults Texas public schools
have ever produced. Questions on the 2003 Early Indicator Report
may be directed to the Division of Performance Reporting at
Criss Cloudt, Associate Commissioner
Accountability Reporting and Research
Early Indicator Reports
for 2003 Early Indicator Report
to Use the 2003 Early Indicator Report