As the end of course exam season approaches, the Texas Education Agency has announced that all State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests will be taking in-person.
Students will have to take the exams in their school campus or designated testing area to receive credit. Testing dates are not available yet as each school will have different testing dates, but Coppell ISD will release the dates as soon as they are finalized. Exams will not be offered remotely. Families who are not comfortable with sending their children for in-person testing can keep them home, according to Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath in a Texas Tribune event on Thursday.
“No one is being forced to come in to test,” CISD coordinator of assessment and accountability Susie Williams said. “We will have a mixture. There will be people who choose to bring their learners in and those who don’t, and that is OK.”
The Texas House of Representatives has requested the TEA to cancel STAAR testing all together because it thinks testing should not be in anyone’s concerns in the middle of a public health crisis.
Texas suspended STAAR testing for the 2019-2020 school year due to the coronavirus pandemic. To some, the reinstatement of the test allows schools and teachers to understand where students’ understanding is lacking, particularly in CISD’s primarily virtual learning environment.
“The STAAR is not the only thing we base our assessment of our learners on, but it does give us a good idea of where they are based on the curriculum they are supposed to be learning,” Williams said.
Due to the split of remote and in-person learning, CISD has implemented precautions to hopefully reduce transmission of COVID-19.
“We will encourage people to come in, and we assure parents that remote learners would be in a room with remote learners,” Williams said. “In-person learners would be together, so those learners who are remote would have less exposure to the learners who are coming to school.”
For the 2021-22 school year, elementary and middle schools students’ testing requirements have been waived, which includes the reading and math STAARs from third to eighth grade, writing STAAR in fourth grade, science STAAR in fifth and eighth grade and the social studies STAAR in eighth grade. The STAAR will not keep students from advancing from fifth or eighth grades.
However, high school students are still required to pass five STAAR tests before they graduate. If high school learners choose not to test this school year, they will have to test sometime before they leave high school to graduate, with the exceptions of exemption. The required EOC assessments for high schoolers are English I, English II, algebra I, biology and U.S history.
“A point to understand is at some point high schoolers will have to take the STAAR end of course exam, and the further away you are from the content, the harder it is to pass that,” CISD director of communications Amanda Simpson said.
Coppell High School is ensuring that student safety is the priority and all students will be as safe as possible when testing.
“We really will be sending out [messages] saying, ‘please make sure you wear a mask’; if you want to bring a hand sanitizer or whatever you want to do, feel free to do so,” CHS Principal Laura Springer said. “Just be on time and come prepared to take your test. We will have everything posted, and we will even post it online. We will make all those arrangements of making sure you know where you’re going to go and what you need to do.”
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