Texas Student Success Initiative

Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor and the commissioner of education waived the requirements regarding grade promotion for students in fifth and eighth grade for the 2020–21 school year.

Students enrolled in grades 5 and 8 are still required to take the appropriate STAAR assessments 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.

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 2020–21 school year. This administration will be in May to coincide with the administration of other STAAR grades 3–8 assessments.

To Prepare for Success


  • Early in the school year, review your child’s academic progress with his or her teachers to determine if extra help is needed in mathematics or reading.
  • Reinforce what your child is learning in school by asking questions about classroom and homework assignments.
  • Attend the school’s open house and parent-teacher conferences. Ask about activities you can do at home to improve your child’s skills.
  • Keep in contact with your child’s teachers throughout the year. If your child seems to be struggling, ask about tutoring programs or other forms of available assistance.


  • Encourage your child to talk about the steps used when solving a mathematics problem.
  • Ask your child questions about what is represented in the tables and graphs found in different sections of magazines and newspapers, such as the weather page.
  • Find ways to incorporate mathematics skills into everyday situations like comparing prices when shopping, budgeting money, calculating the amount of tax and tip, measuring ingredients for cooking, doing home repairs, and estimating time and distance when traveling.


  • Establish a daily reading time, when family members can enjoy their favorite book or magazine without the distraction of television. This will help your child realize that you value and enjoy reading.
  • Encourage your child to read a variety of materials, including stories, poems, plays, books, and newspaper and magazine articles. Look for opportunities to discuss what your child is reading, and find out what your child learned from the text. Suggest that your child make notes about unfamiliar words and concepts. Interacting with your child about what he or she is reading can improve your child’s ability to read “between the lines” and to make connections between reading and personal experience.
  • Help your child learn to use the reading resources available at home or at the library. Doing this will put your child on the road to becoming a better, more independent reader.


If you have questions about the state requirements for SSI, please contact your school’s principal or go to TEA’s website.