Combined EOC STAAR & STAAR Modified Blueprints

We have recently created the EOC STAAR and STAAR Modified combined blueprints for all six of the EOC STAAR Modified tested subjects.  These documents allow you to compare the number of items, performance tasks, and assessed TEKS for both the STAAR and STAAR Modified assessment, all on a single page.

It’s important to note the Readiness Standards for each STAAR and STAAR Modified assessment will make up 60-70% of what is assessed, the other 30-40% will consist of the listed Supporting Standards.  The Readiness Standards will always be tested each year, the Supporting Standards on the other hand, will rotate from year to year.

All of the blueprints below do not include the embedded field test items, only the number of items that will be officially scored.  To learn more about the basic components of the STAAR assessment, click here to watch the STAAR Overview video.

If you haven’t had a chance to do so, make sure you visit our STARR page dedicated to all things Special Education.  All of the documents below and even more resources can be found on that page.

English I
English II

Algebra I


World Geography

2011-2012 STAAR Accommodations Update #2

Who can use these testing accommodations?

Over the past few years, the number of accommodations and the number of students eligible to use testing accommodations has grown.  What used to be reserved for a select group of students or a certain type of assessment is no longer the case.

The transition from TAKS to STAAR has also changed the rules for who is eligible to use an assessment accommodation.  TEA previously noted in the 2010-2011 Accommodations Manual (still a valid manual for 11-12 TAKS test takers) that assessment accommodations were for students with “special needs and disabilities.”

For the purposes of the STAAR assessment, there has been a major change as to how TEA specifically defines a “student with a disability.”  Please remember this new definition is for assessment purposes only, not special education qualification.

TEA’s NEW guidance provides us with the following three specific examples as to who is eligible for specific testing accommodations due to a disability.

  • a student with an identified disability who receives special education services and meets established eligibility criteria for certain accommodations (ARD committee decision)
  • a student with an identified disability who receives Section 504 services and meets established eligibility criteria for certain accommodations (Section 504 placement committee decision)
  • a student with a disabling condition who does not receive special education or Section 504 services but meets established eligibility criteria for certain accommodations (campus level team decision)

The ARD and Section 504 placement committees will document the use of accommodations for the students described in the first two bullets.  A campus level team, such as the RTI or student assistance team, will be responsible for the accommodation decisions for the students described in the third bullet, which TEA notes should only apply to a small group of students.

Now that you know who can use these testing accommodations, our next post will look at the NEW optional test administration procedures and materials that will be available to any student who needs them.

2011-2012 STAAR Accommodations Update #1

TEA has recently started to post it’s new Accommodation Policies and Procedures for 2011-2012.  Because of all of the new updates and changes, our plan is to take all of the new information and to chunk it into pieces, a series of blog post mini-lessons.

These mini-lessons will highlight and explain the most recent critical changes that you need to know about to better serve your students and campus.

In this first post, we’d like to point out the following 3 critical highlights.

There will NOT be an accommodations manual this year, rather a single web page will be updated as new policies and documents are posted.

2.  The previous 2010-2011 Accommodations Manual is still valid, but ONLY for the 2011-2012 TAKS administrations.

3.  Accommodations for students with disabilities are available for the following assessments ONLY:  STAAR, STARR Spanish, STAAR Modified, STAAR L, and TELPAS.

That ends our first STAAR Accommodations Update; in our next post we will be answering the following critical question:  Who can use these testing accommodations?

If you have any questions, thoughts, or ideas for future blog posts, please let us know in the comment box below.

Tips to Increasing Science Vocabulary Knowledge

The science classroom can be filled with many difficult words, representing complex concepts that are typically not a part of the student’s everyday experiences.  When you add a student with a processing and/or language-based disability, the need for further support and repeated exposure becomes a must.

Direct vocabulary instruction has repeatedly shown to be an effective strategy in helping struggling students learn those difficult terms.  That’s why we’ve decided to re-post a recent webinar we hosted with learning strategy specialist Dr. Kelly Grillo.  In the recorded webinar Dr. Grillo describes a variety of research-based instructional strategies and provides clear examples as to how they can be implemented into your classroom.

The webinar is accessible via our ecampus learning system.  Use the information below to register for the free workshop and to learn some new strategies to help increase your students’ science vocabulary knowledge.

Ecampus Log In:
Workshop Name: 
Increasing Science Content Vocabulary Knowledge: Recorded Webinar
Workshop Number:  FA1122827
Cost:  Free
Course Credit:  One Hour

If you use any of the strategies from the course, we’d love to hear from you, please leave your comments below.

Power of 2 is Coming!

Are you sharing a classroom with a general ed or a special ed teacher?  Do you feel like those new “Dancing With the Stars” partners who are stepping on each others toes or even working against each other?  Co-teaching can be fun and rewarding if you know the right steps to support the partnership.

Power of 2 training can help!

Both partners are encouraged to attend this one day training.   Participants will gain many ideas for creating a caring, structured, and engaging environment where students follow multiple pathways to accomplish learning outcomes.

Wednesday, Oct 26

9:00 – 4:00

Education Service Center Region XIII

$40 per person

eCampus Workshop # FA1121704 (flier)

For questions, please contact Cathy Miller.


Service Delivery in the Schools – Is it Individualized?

IDEA mandates, and ASHA recommends, that special education service delivery, as well as the frequency and duration of those services, be based on the needs of the individual student.   We have recently heard a lot of information from TEA regarding “patterns of service,” again requiring that districts make data-driven, or “student centered,” decisions around service delivery models, and that service delivery decisions are not made for “administrative convenience.”  A new study by Brandel and Loeb (2011) in the latest Language, Speech, Hearing Services in the Schools, finds that nationally SLPs use a pretty limited range of intensity and service delivery models, despite the student’s severity or type of disability.

The study included over 1,800 SLPs selected randomly from across 50 states.  The study found that the average caseload of the participants was 50.72 students, which is consistent with the ASHA Schools Survey data.  The participants reported that 74% of their students received intervention outside of the classroom, while only 12% were seen in shared instruction in the classroom.  A few more, 21%, received intervention in a self-contained classroom.  When asked which features impacted the program intensity and service delivery models most, SLPs reported that they felt that the nature and severity of the disorder made the most impact, followed by the student’s needs regarding access to the general curriculum; however, the researchers found “little variability across disabilities and severity level with respect to program intensity and service delivery model (p. 471).”  A program intensity of 1 or 2 times per week for 20-30 minute sessions was most frequently recommended.  The researchers also found that caseload size influenced program intensity.  Further, students were seen in groups outside of the classroom, regardless of severity, grade, or type of disorder.  The researchers found that experience and year of graduation influenced the type of service delivery model used.   Why?

Well, only 25% of the respondents reported receiving elementary classroom-based intervention experiences in graduate school, and even fewer reported experiences in secondary classrooms.  Further, large caseloads may have explained the need to provide services primarily in groups.  Regardless, the authors go on to explain that “there are no efficacy studies that have evaluated the claim that 2–3 times a week for 20–30 min in group settings outside of the classroom is an effective service delivery model (p. 475)”.

So what does this mean for us?  We need to take a moment and think about why we recommend the schedule of services that we do.  Is it because “that’s the way it’s always been done?”  Or do we have some data to support that it works?  We also need to think about where we provide services.  If a major concern is our students’ access to the curriculum, then the curriculum is in the classroom.  If we don’t know how to do it, then we need to seek out colleagues to help or professional development resources.  For example, consider participating in my Wednesday Webinar Series – Classroom Based Language Intervention: .  Don’t wait for TEA to find a “pattern of service” in your SLP program – design it around the needs of the students instead!


Brandel, J. and Loeb, D.F. (2011).  Program Intensity and Service Delivery Models in the Schools:  SLP Survey Results.  Language Speech and Hearing Services in the Schools, 42, 461-490.

New & Powerful Documentary on the Disability Rights Movement

On October 27, at 10 PM, PBS will air a new documentary tracing the development of the disability rights movement from its beginning following World War II, up to the passage of the American with Disabilities Act in 1990.

To learn more about the film, visit the film’s companion website at…

The link below also has some preview clips of the documentary itself.

PBS Press Release