TEA Says Some Districts Experienced Disruption During Online STAAR Testing

Students who were due to begin their State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness Tuesday may have to wait — the Texas Education Agency advised some districts to postpone testing after students had problems connecting to the online testing platform.

“The three STAAR tests affected were Grade 4 writing, Grade 7 writing, and English I,” the TEA said in a statement. “This was the first of five days that students were eligible to take one of these three tests online.”

Shortly after 10 a.m., districts were told that if they were having issues, they should stop online testing for the day while the vendor providing the platform resolves the issues, and online testing would begin again tomorrow.

Dallas ISD had some schools who had been impacted by the issue, district spokesperson Robyn Harris said.

“Those without connectivity issues who could log in were able to complete the test,” she said. “Those who could not were not able to.”

Highland Park ISD students were affected in a “limited capacity,” said spokesperson Jon Dahlander.

“About 100 students were impacted,” he said.

The TEA said they’re still determining how many students were impacted by the issue, but that students seemed to be able to submit their test with no issues, or submit their test with slow response times, the student couldn’t log in at all, or began answering questions but was prevented from continuing.

“We understand the frustration this has caused students, parents, teachers, and administrators,” the agency said. “What happened today is completely unacceptable. ETS, the testing vendor, experienced problems with their database system, which are in the process of being corrected.”

This is the last year ETS will administer the test — starting next year, Cambium Assessment will take over. The agency is under the gun to get the online testing platform right, as it plans to transition to online testing only starting next year.

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

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, deputy editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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