There Will Be STAAR Tests, But no Schools Will be Tagged with A-F Ratings in 2020-21.

HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan and HISD applauded the TEA action.
HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan and HISD applauded the TEA action. Screenshot
As announced Thursday, the Texas Education Agency has decided to hit pause on handing out any A-F ratings of schools this school year, but is still requiring students to undergo STAAR testing, despite pleas from many legislators to forego it this year.

But, the TEA and others said the STAAR results would be used as a "diagnostic instrument" as opposed to a tool used to assess all public school districts in the state.

It has been widely reported by school districts that the move to online learning has not had good outcomes for many students.  A skyrocketing student failure rate has led districts like the Pasadena ISD to announce returns to in-person classes unless special waivers are granted. It seems in-person teaching really does matter.

TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said TEA was changing course because of the immense demands placed on everyone because of COVID-19. "The last nine months have been some of the most disruptive of our lives. The challenges have been especially pronounced for our parents, teachers, and students. We continue to prioritize the health and safety of students, teachers, and staff in our schools this year, while working to ensure students grow academically."

The Houston ISD released this statement:

The district supports the decision announced by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to pause A-F ratings for schools and districts as it will allow us to continue to focus on successfully meeting the challenges presented by the pandemic so that our students can achieve the best possible academic outcomes and receive supports for their social and emotional well-being.

We will follow the TEA’s directive to administer the STAAR test this school year, not as an accountability metric, but as a means of gauging students’ academic performances in order to better create comprehensive scholastic strategies and solutions for the future.
 Districts that use STAAR results as part of teacher evaluations will be able to skip that this year — something that has to be a relief for teachers.

The STAAR test will be administered on campus or at designated testing sites. 
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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
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