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Important Information Regarding Spring STAAR, End of Course Testing

March 8, 2021

As you may already know, the Texas Education Agency announced in January that students must be present at school in order to participate in STAAR testing this spring. I am writing to provide some clarity regarding this issue. 

  1. There are a number of federal and state laws that require all 1,202 Texas school districts to administer STAAR. In fact, TEA has posted a listing of these laws on its website at: https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/state-and-federal-required-tests.pdf

  2. Logistical constraints prevent the State of Texas from administering these assessments in remote or at-home settings. Therefore, in order to participate, a student must be physically present at school.

  3. TEA has made a number of adjustments and options to help school districts provide a safe on-campus testing environment. These include expanding the testing window and providing remote instruction to those not testing in order to reduce the number of students on campus during assessment days.

We are obligated to comply with federal and state laws relating to state assessments, but we are also committed to providing the safest environment possible for staff and students on our campuses. While assessment is the most meaningful way of gauging student knowledge, STAAR is only one indicator that can help us evaluate the impact of the pandemic on student learning.

We would like to have as many students as possible participate in STAAR this spring. However, we recognize some of our parents may feel having their child come into our schools for testing is not a viable option due to safety concerns. We respect your decision to have your child remain in remote instruction. As a result, your child will not be able to participate in STAAR testing at home. Rest assured students in 3-8 grades not participating in a STAAR assessment this spring will have no impact on promotion or retention.

However, please know that under current law, students are required to perform successfully on End-of-Course (EOC) exams in order to receive high school credit and meet graduation requirements. Therefore, there are implications for those students who choose not to participate in EOC assessments. Although there may be future opportunities to take EOCs prior to graduation, we believe it is important for students to participate in EOCs at the conclusion of their course. EOC courses are applicable in Algebra 1, Biology, English I, English II, and US History. For students receiving special education services, the ARD committee will make decisions related to state assessments and graduation requirements.

You will receive detailed information from your child’s campus regarding STAAR testing in the near future.

Thank you for your continued support and flexibility throughout this challenging year.

Sincerely,

Paul Norton
Superintendent of Schools