Nearly 50 superintendents in the Houston area sent a letter to the Texas Commissioner of Education, Mike Morath, complaining about multiple problems with the State of Texas Assessments and Academic Readiness, or STAAR standardized test. Districts in the San Antonio area have also complained.
Over 14,000 students who took the test online in March encountered problems, including answers not being saved, tests being scored inaccurately, tests not being delivered, and test results being sent to the wrong school. A total of 2.3 million students took the test during that period. The STAAR test was administered for the first time by a new vendor, Educational Testing Service, or ETS.
Debbie Ratcliffe is Director of Media Relations for the Texas Education Agency. She says that the level of service has been unacceptable, and that testing is already stressful for students and teachers without these added problems.
“The commissioner said publicly during an April State Board of Education meeting that if these problems aren’t corrected with this later spring testing, he’ll consider taking action against ETS, up to and possibly including rebidding the contract,” she said.
STAAR results impact teacher assessments. Fifth and eighth graders must pass certain portions of the test to move on a grade. Ratcliffe says those school children affected by the online test glitches will not be held back a grade.