State Law Requirements
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 mathematics and reading tests to be promoted to sixth grade. Additionally, students are required to pass the STAAR grade 8 mathematics and reading tests to be promoted to ninth grade. In addition to the SSI grade advancement requirements, state law mandates that high school students must not only meet all course requirements but also pass the STAAR end-of-course assessments in Algebra I, English I, English II, biology, and U.S. history to receive a diploma from a Texas public high school.
What Happens at Grades 5 and 8?
Students in grades 5 and 8 have three opportunities to pass the STAAR reading test and three opportunities to pass the STAAR mathematics tests. If a student does not pass one or both tests, the school must give the student additional instruction after each testing opportunity, and the student must participate in that instruction. Parents will be notified if their child does not pass a STAAR test that is required for promotion.
If a student has not passed after the second testing opportunity, a grade placement committee (GPC) is formed. The GPC, which consists of the principal, teacher, and parent or guardian, will create an instructional plan based on the individual needs of the student.
Parents’ Role in the Process
A student who does not pass the STAAR mathematics or reading test after the third testing opportunity will be automatically retained. However, the student’s parents may appeal the decision to have their child repeat the grade by submitting a request to the GPC within five working days of receiving the retention notice. The GPC may decide to promote a student to the next grade, but only if everyone on the committee agrees that the student is likely to succeed in the next grade. Even if the GPC decides to promote the student, the student must participate in the required additional instruction in order to be promoted.
Parents may request a waiver of the third testing opportunity if they do not want their child to test. If the waiver is approved, the student is automatically retained, but the parents may still appeal the retention. A student must participate in all additional instruction required by the GPC, even if the third testing opportunity is waived.
For information about how the Student Success Initiative applies to students receiving special education services, check with the special education contact on your campus.