Changes to the statewide standardized STAAR test are coming for the upcoming school year, although it’s not the cancellation some lawmakers have been calling for. 

On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that grade promotion requirements for the test for grades 5-8 would be waived for the 2020-2021 school year in light of challenges brought on by the Chinese coronavirus. 

Typically, students in grades 5-8 are required to pass the STAAR mathematics and reading standardized tests for their grade level in order to progress to the next grade. If they fail, students are given an opportunity to retake the test during the summer.

But not this year. Instead, students who fail the test will not be required to retake it.

“This will be a uniquely challenging school year. Therefore, this year is about providing students every opportunity to overcome the disruptions caused by COVID-19,” said Abbott. “By waiving these promotion requirements, we are providing greater flexibility for students and teachers, while at the same time ensuring that Texas students continue to receive a great education—which we will continue to measure with high-quality assessments.”

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, however, stated the importance of continuing to administer the test, even with the grade promotion requirements being waived.

“Parents deserve to know how well their children have learned grade-level knowledge and skills in reading and math, especially in a time when education has been substantially disrupted,” said Morath. “And educators use this valuable information to make adjustments to support students the following year.”

The waiver comes after many state lawmakers—in both parties—have written letters to Abbott and Morath requesting the test be canceled entirely for the upcoming school year.

Additionally, Abbott stressed that the A-F ratings for school performance will remain in place, albeit with “certain adjustments due to COVID-19.”

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens


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