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Texas testing coordinators are ramping up for Spring 2022 testing, along with the rest of the country. In Texas schools will receive state grades based on this year’s exam results. Teachers don’t know what to expect, but schools brace themselves for more low scores due to the pandemic. Get a glimpse of Texas below as they prepare for their transition to a full online testing program in early-mid May:

The preparations

  • Texas students are preparing for state exams in early May, which will mark their progress after a tough two years of COVID-19 disruptions.
  • Last year’s STAAR results showed significant learning loss and educators across the state expect to see another year of low scores this year.
  • In the past year, schools have focused on accelerating student learning to make up for lost time by adding minutes to the school dayhiring thousands of tutors and offering additional instruction time over the summer and on breaks.

Uncertainty ahead

  • Educators aren’t sure what to expect from this year’s results.
  • Student performance across Texas showed an overall decrease in STAAR performance in 2021, with students from low-income families experienced greater learning loss in both subjects.
  • State officials have suggested that remote learning appeared to contribute to the sharp declines, but the absences of so many test-takers last year may have clouded final results.

Online testing goal

  • The majority of other states already have fully online tests.
  • Texas is following suit by administering most testing online this year. Next year, all STAAR tests will be taken online.
  • Lawmakers set in motion a major redesign of state exams in 2019. They hoped the transformation would make the test look more familiar to kids and have questions relate more closely to what was being taught in the classroom every day.
  • Transitioning the exams to computers will enable more students to have access to testing accommodations, faster results and new styles of questions.
  • Texas is offering a series of practice tests and online activities to smooth the transition for students.
  • Addressing claims that the re-designed STAAR test could be flawed, Texas education commissioner Mike Morath stated it is providing accurate information on where students are, so it is the structure of the supports that we provide that has got to change.

Plans for remediation

  • If a student fails STAAR, schools must offer accelerated instruction by assigning a student to an experienced teacher’s classroom or delivering extra tutoring during the next school year or in the summer.
  • Districts also are required to establish committees for students who don’t pass their math and reading tests in third, fifth and eighth grades to help catch them up.
  • Fifth and eighth graders who fail STAAR tests are no longer required to be held back a grade because of a new law passed in 2021.

Accountability ratings and grades

  • The state will grade schools for the first time since before the pandemic.
  • TEA will issue letter grades, A-C for districts and campuses based largely off this year’s STAAR exams.
  • Those scoring a D or F will instead receive “Not Rated” labels.
  • The numeric value will still be publicly available, despite the absense of an official rating..

Summary

  • “We have a situation as a result of this pandemic where arguably students have the greatest possible need that we have ever seen,” said Tyson Kane, the Texas Education Agency’s associate commissioner of strategy and analytics.
  • Educators will have a better idea of what challenges are ahead and how pandemic recovery will need to pivot once they receive this year’s results.

More HERE

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