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STAAR testing on-line fails on day one

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Harlingen, Texas (KVEO)-A statewide outage with the STAAR test on-line system forced schools to suspend the test Tuesday.

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Several school districts across the Rio Grande Valley reporting issues with on-line STAAR testing. In Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, about 90% of students testing on-line had problems.

“We were alerted that we were having on-line issues, having students not being able to login to the system or if they had been able to login were having connectivity issues with staying logged in, and were being logged off of the system,” said Jorge Botello, Area Director of Assessments, Edinburg CISD.

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4th and 7th grade writing and 7th grade English 1 exams were affected. After 10 a.m. this morning the Texas Education Agency told school districts if they were having issues they should stop testing for the day.

In a statement the TEA said,

“We understand the frustration this has caused students, parents, teachers, and administrators. What happened today is completely unacceptable. ETS, the testing vendor, experienced problems with their database system, which are in the process of being corrected.  

Other schools experiencing problems with on-line testing including PSJA, Mission CISD, Harlingen CISD, and Brownsville ISD. McAllen ISD says they did not experience any issues with their testing.

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The suspension was supposed to last just for the remainder of the day, but it could last longer.

“They also told us that they were going to be working on the on-line issue and hopefully have some type of report before 5 a.m. tomorrow, letting us know if testing on-line is still viable for tomorrow,” said Botello.

Districts do have an extended period of 5 weeks to administer the test. Edinburg CISD says those who were affected today will be rescheduled. The district did put out a letter to students and parents explaining the situation.

The state does plan on making all testing for the STAAR test on-line only beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, but it will be with a different company. The company in charge out administering this years exams will be out at the end of this school year.

TEA did issue another statement later Tuesday evening,

As of the time this communication is sent, districts can plan to resume online testing the morning of April 7, 2021. TEA will notify districts before 5:00 a.m. (CT) on April 7th if the situation changes. For the foreseeable future, the dictionary functionality in the online platform will be disabled. Please make handheld dictionaries available for students to use during testing. TEA will continue to evaluate the effect of these technical difficulties and provide additional guidance, if needed.   

The STAAR results this year are for learning and recovery. Districts and campuses will use STAAR to identify learning gaps. State and district leaders will use the results to ensure the schools and students in greatest need receive resources for recovery. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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