STAAR retest canceled for 5th and 8th graders

STAAR retest canceled for 5th and 8th graders

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Fifth and eighth graders who failed the standardized STAAR test, will not have to retake the exam this week because of a recent announcement by the Texas Education Agency.

This is all because of ongoing issues with the state's testing vendor.

In a recent news release, Mike Morath, the TEA Commissioner of Education said, the state is removing student consequences for fifth and eighth graders who did not pass the STAAR test, and the third retest has been cancelled.
Now the decision if students move forward to the next grade is in the hands of the school district.
Ward Roberts, the Wichita Falls Independent School District Director of Innovation and Advanced Academics, said about 200 fifth graders and 150 eighth graders in the WFISD will not be retaking the STAAR test this week.
In the past, these students had three chances to pass the math and reading STAAR tests, and if they did not, they would be held back.
Morath said the TEA made this decision because Education Testing Service, the state's testing vendor, has not returned test scores to a number of districts.
Although Roberts said WFISD has not had any problems with ETS, this decision is impacting WFISD students.
Summer school was cut short by three days, but most importantly Roberts said the district has to come up with different guidelines for how they will promote kids to the next grade.
Roberts said the decision is going back to the campus and the principals.
     "They have different criteria that they look at to make that determination instead of just a test. They will look at the students grades over the school year, teacher recommendations, whether or not they came to summer school and how they performed in summer school," said Roberts.
Student's testing history will also be taken into consideration, including benchmarks they took over the school year and their first two tries at the STARR test.
Roberts said although the situation is confusing he sees no negative impact on students.

In fact, he thinks it will benefit them.
     "It gives the school district a little more control over whether or not they are promoted, so that it's not all dependent on one test," said Roberts.
He said WFISD did have students take a benchmark test at the end of summer school.

"I think there was some miscommunication a lot of them thought if I don't pass this district test then I won't get promoted, but that was not the intent. Really it was just a misconception that kids had," said Roberts.
WFISD officials said if parents have any concerns to call the Education Center.
They are more than willing to answer questions because they understand this is new and can be confusing.
The decision made by the TEA this year regarding fifth and eighth grade testing is only for this year.
Roberts said the district will have to wait and find out what's going to happen in the future.
TEA officials said state law does give the Commissioner of Education the ability to waive testing regulations when necessary, and Morath apologized for the continuing problems with the testing vendor.
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