Educational assessments: Why they matter

This is a preview of our Texas 2036 newsletter about educational assessments. Sign up here to receive this weekly highlight of our work.

Image of Margaret Spellings next to the play button icon and the Texas 2036 logo. The background image is of the Texas state capitol. The copy on the graphic reads: "CEO/President Margaret Spellings testifies on student learning at Texas Capitol."

On Aug. 9, Texas 2036 President and CEO Margaret Spellings explained the critical importance of educational assessments during her virtual testimony to the Texas House Committee on Public Education. As the former U.S. Secretary of Education, Margaret offered her unique perspective of having developed exams to measure and support students and schools across the nation and here in Texas.   

Listen to it.

The Importance of Assessment in Improving Student Achievement ✏️

Closing the Gap: Currently, our economy relies on out-of-state talent to meet its workforce needs.

  • New Texans have twice the amount of bachelor’s degrees or higher educational attainment than native Texans.
Part of the Solution: To strengthen our education-to-workforce pipeline, we need to know how Texas students and schools are doing so we can make smart investments.
  • Assessments provide information that is valid, reliable, fair and comparable, which enables state leaders to resource strategies that improve student performance and implement those solutions in districts across Texas.

Keeping Up with the Times: Texas started assessing basic skills in 1979 and has increased the rigor of our exams over time. Today, we assess academic readiness for college and career through the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR.

  • The STAAR exam was recently updated with a $70 million investment from the Legislature and over 5,000 teacher hours to make it more closely mirror the classroom experience.
Leader of the Pack: When Texas has held true to a philosophy that embraces “what gets measured gets done” coupled with resources for reforms that work, we move the needle for students.
  • In the 1990s, Texas’ strong assessment and accountability system helped improve student performance and be recognized as a national leader.
Hold the Line: Texas has created a strong assessment and accountability system. We need to continue to invest in our schools and have high expectations for all of our students. 
Extra Credit Reading: 
Texans, we want to hear from you! 🤔

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Texas 2036 In the News 🗞️

Two women sit in a TV studio at desk in front of a TV screen that has the show title, "Capital Tonight," on it. There are two large studio cameras in the foreground.

Texas 2036 Senior Policy Advisor Mary Lynn Pruneda discussed COVID learning loss and the significance of exams like the STAAR on Spectrum News 1 Texas’ Capital Tonight last week.

Watch it.