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STAAR test amid COVID-19 pandemic will help gauge students’ progress, Texas educators say

The pandemic has thrown a wrench into many things, including the public education system in Texas.

TEXAS, USA — The Texas Education Agency will continue with the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness testing amid the COVID-19 pandemic to gauge students' progress. 

School ratings are out. That's the big announcement coming from TEA this week,
but the STARR tests are still in.

The pandemic has thrown a wrench into many things, including the public education system in Texas.  

"We appreciate the Texas Education Agency looking at what we have gone through and understanding that grading a school district based on what's happened since March would really be difficult," Dr. Mark Porterie said.

Port Arthur Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Porterie said he supports the TEA's decision.

Dr. Porterie said this school year has been challenging due to the pandemic and another pesky problem unique to Southeast Texas, hurricanes.

Between the disruptions, Dr. Porterie said he fears many students are falling behind.

RELATED: Texas pauses A-F grading for 2020-21 school year; STAAR test to proceed

"It is going to take years to address the gaps that have occurred since March," Dr. Porterie said.

The TEA said the reason they want students to take it is to help gauge where students are at and see how the pandemic has affected learning.

Dr. Porterie said he believes there will be a decline in STAAR test scores, but he supports having the data.

“Giving the tests, we will see exactly where our students are, and that will help us to prepare," Dr. Porterie said.

President Of The Texas State Teachers Association Ovidia Molina said she expects low test scores this year, and the reality is that it’s going to take a while for students to catch up.

But she said she doesn't agree with STAAR testing for this year as it may not accurately reflect what's going on outside the classroom.

"Everybody's community is going to be different, and that's what this test can't separate,” Molina said. “It can't separate what is needed in your local community."

The TEA said it will allow schools to remove STAAR test results from teacher evaluations this year, and the tests will not be used for accountability purposes.

RELATED: Thousands of Texas students return to school to take STAAR test despite COVID-19 pandemic

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