The Student Success Initiative (SSI) was created by the Texas Legislature to ensure that all students receive the instruction and support they need to be academically successful in reading and mathematics.
Under the SSI grade advancement requirements, students are required to pass the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) grade 5 reading and mathematics tests to be promoted to sixth grade. Additionally, students are required to pass the STAAR grade 8 reading and mathematics tests to be promoted to ninth grade.
In light of past and anticipated impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commissioner of education is exercising his authority under Texas Education Code (TEC), Section 7.056, to waive the requirements of TEC, Section 28.0211 regarding grade promotion requirements for students in fifth and eighth grade for the 2020–2021 school year.
School districts and open-enrollment charter schools are not required to apply for a waiver of these SSI requirements.
Students enrolled in grades 5 and 8 are still required to take the appropriate State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) tests once. Regardless of their score, retest opportunities will not be provided. Districts will have local discretion on whether these students should advance to the next grade, just like students in grades 3, 4, 6, and 7. These decisions should be based on local criteria that reflect a student’s academic achievement and mastery of subject matter, and should include STAAR assessment results, along with other relevant information. Districts are still responsible for providing accelerated instruction and supports for students that fail to perform satisfactorily on STAAR. Furthermore, although students in grades 5 and 8 will not be retained solely on the basis of STAAR results, school districts and open-enrollment charter schools will remain accountable for student performance.
As a part of this waiver, there will only be one administration of the STAAR grades 5 and 8 mathematics and reading assessments for the 2020–2021 school year. This administration will be in May to coincide with the administration of other STAAR grades 3–8 assessments.
In addition to the SSI grade advancement requirements, state law mandates that high school students must not only meet all their course requirements but also perform satisfactorily on STAAR end-of-course assessments in Algebra I, biology, English I, English II, and U.S. history to receive a diploma from a Texas public high school. Graduation requirements have changed for students enrolled in the 11th or 12th grade for the 2014-15, 2015-16, or 2016-17 school years. A student who has not passed two or fewer end-of-course assessments may receive a Texas high school diploma if the student has qualified to graduate by means of an individual graduation committee (IGC) determination. Please contact your high school counselor for further IGC information.