Technical Difficulties

Technical+Difficulties

Alex Fabian Garcia, Reporter

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, is a testing program for Grades 3-12. This test is based off of curriculum in core subject classes and determines whether a student can go to the next grade or not.

The STAAR will be online this year due to COVID.

On April 6, about 200,000 students had technical difficulties with the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the program the STAAR test is ran on due to the dictionary function.

The Texas Education Agency’s Student Assessment Division notified testing coordinators on Tuesday afternoon that online testing would resume on Wednesday morning. Students who had their tests interrupted by the disruption could retake them online at any point over the next five weeks without missing any answers or partial responses.

Students who did not begin their test will be transferred to a paper test. “[We will] continue to evaluate the effect of these technical difficulties and provide additional guidance if needed,” The TEA said. “Online dictionaries used for the exams had been disabled for the future.”

The TEA released a statement on Tuesday recognizing the state’s technological difficulties and calling the outages “absolutely unacceptable.” The state’s current research provider, New Jersey-based ETS, will be working with the state for the last time this year, according to the study.

“All involved in public education in Texas should expect better than what they have experienced today,” the TEA said. “We are working to ensure that our students do not experience future testing issues.”

Veena Dass, dean of instruction Lake, says students will have physical copies of the dictionaries for this week’s test.

“The technical issues experienced in some school districts across Texas with the online STAAR EOC English I and English II online assessments on April 7 were apparently due to an issue with the dictionary tool,” Mrs. Dass said. “For now, the dictionary tool in the online STAAR assessments has been disabled. Clear Lake High School will provide hard bound dictionaries for next week’s administration.”

Mrs. Dass thinks student’s grade promotions should depend on what they score in class all year.

“Grade promotions should be based on the year-round performance of a student in the class. A student does not benefit by repeating a year based on a single test score.” Mrs. Dass said. “A student may just be having a bad day on the day of the STAAR test, so a single test cannot be used to determine a student’s growth.”

“Teachers use this information to make adjustments to support students,” Mrs. Dass said. “Data from standardized tests also helps in identifying gaps and improving instructional strategies used for diverse populations.”

STAAR helps schools know what the student have learned, and what teachers need to do to help the student improve.

“While STAAR testing is not the sole measure for determining promotion or graduation, standardized tests are an objective way of measuring what a student knows. It also helps schools evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum,” Mrs. Dass said. “We can compare our students to their peers at other schools to determine what we are doing well within our school and where we need to invest more time and resources.”

The testing days are April 13 – English I (Regular school day for non-testing students), April 15 – English II (Regular school day for non-testing students), May 6 – Biology (Asynchronous learning  day for non-testing students), May 11 – US History/Algebra I (Asynchronous learning day for non-testing students).

 

Sources:

Dallas News