STAAR testing a go, A-F ratings paused

Updated: Dec. 11, 2020 at 6:48 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - STAAR testing will take place this school year, but results won’t come with normal state consequences.

The A-F rating that campuses normally get will be paused.

Campuses in Wichita Falls ISD are seeing the opportunity to take the test as a positive. Principals are having to go off two-year-old data to gauge student improvement.

“It’s just all we think about and all we do,” Shannon Cunningham, the principal at Kirby Middle School, said “we just want out.”

Kirby Middle School and Burgess Elementary are both under district improvement plans after receiving multiple F ratings from the Texas Education Agency. Principals there were hopeful 2020 STAAR testing would help get them out.

“At the end of the day we kind of want to see how we’re going to do, too, just because, we’ve been working hard also,” Cunningham said.

As Dr. Peter Griffiths reminds principals “STAAR testing is one day.”

As a way to give campuses a better idea of where student progress sits, WFISD purchased the MAP tests this year. They’re taken at the beginning, middle and end of the school year.

“I don’t think we’re going to put too much of a leniency on the STAAR testing as more as our unit assessments Map. This is the daily work they do and try to get away from that one day test,” Dr. Griffiths said.

Texas Education Commissioner Mark Morath said he hopes the STAAR testing will give the state an idea of the sweeping impacts of the pandemic., which Dr. Griffiths said could skew the data for this year.

“We have kids that are in school and then they leave for a few days and then they come back. They might not be here when we’re testing because either COVID positive or close-contact. And then you have those students who just aren’t coming back at all because of whatever those health concerns may be,” he explained.

He does add that while there may not be ratings given out this year, “there’s learning consequences if we don’t do well by our students, the teachers are working hard, the principals are working hard, the students are working hard.”

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