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LESSONS LEARNED | Local school districts assess impact of 'COVID slide'

Now that school is back in session, many educators are worried about how much information students lost during the extended break.

LONGVIEW, Texas — When students were sent home in the spring after the pandemic hit, many educators were concerned about whether or not kids would be able to grasp all of the concepts they needed to virtually.

Now, schools across the state are trying to make sure that anything a student may have missed can still be taught. 

"We know because we were not able to finish the school year traditionally, like we did, like we have in the past, we know that there are going to be some gaps in student learning," said Pine Tree ISD Director of Assessment and Accountability Debbie Terry. "Our teachers and our administrators on the campuses are constantly monitoring students, progress monitoring students through assessments, formative assessments, and unit assessments."

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) gathered questions from last year's STAAR test that was not administered, as well as previous years' tests and created a beginning of the year assessment that is being used in districts across the Lone Star State.

The assessments are meant to gauge where a student is academically and allows the school a chance to help students catch up to where they need to be. 

"So the students are assessed from the previous grade level," Longview ISD Testing Coordinator Catina Lobe said. "For example, a fourth grader takes a third grade math and reading assessment because that's the grade level level they were in the previous year."

At Pine Tree ISD, instead of doing a beginning of the year assessment, they're testing year-round. 

"We are using previously released STAAR items that we would use in the past to create assessments for our students so that we can monitor as we're teaching those skills," Terry said. "We can monitor the progress of those students and make sure that they are acquiring those skills needed to be able to move forward to the curriculum."

These tests are not required by the TEA and do not carry the same weight as the actual STAAR test.