Even as districts grapple with how to reopen campuses amid the coronavirus pandemic, Texas will require students this school year to take its high-stakes, state-mandated standardized exams.
Texas will move forward with administering the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, in the 2020-21 school year. Commissioner Mike Morath told State Board of Education members Tuesday morning that the testing will include some changes, including an expanded testing window, about 30 days, and adjustments to the way the A-F grading system works “given we lost last year’s data and it’s going to be harder to calculate growth.”
The state also will offer an extended online testing window.
The overall grade that campuses and districts receive is mostly based on student performance on the STAAR or how much improvement students make from the previous year.
“The fact that we don’t have that data coming out of this year means our first line of impact for how significant the decline was … we just don’t have that information and can’t adjust our educational support to the kids we are supporting,” Morath said in an update to the state education board.
He said educators, school boards and policy makers are blind to that information.
Other states are seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Education to waive similar exams, something advocacy group Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment had asked the Texas Education Agency to do.
“To judge a student in the middle of a pandemic just doesn’t seem like the right thing to do,” said Heather Sheffield, TAMSA president.