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Schools Across Texas Suspend Online STAAR Testing After Continued Technical Difficulties

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — So many school districts across the state experienced technical difficulties while trying to have students access or complete the online STAAR exam that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has advised schools to suspend testing for April 6.

Tuesday was the first day of testing.

This year the STAAR test is being administered on paper, online or a combination of the two -- but students cannot change their chosen format once they have begun the test. There has been no delay for students taking the paper version of the exam.

Late Tuesday morning the TEA issued a statement that said, in part --

"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. The 2021 online administration of STAAR will be ETS's last for the State of Texas. Beginning next school year, Cambium Assessment will be taking over these critical testing functions to ensure that users have a seamless online testing experience moving forward."

In a social media post officials with the Fort Worth Independent School District said, "At this time, connectivity issues with the SOTP (STAAR Online Testing Platform) have not been resolved. Work is continuing, and an update with be provided by no later than early tomorrow."

The issue was only impacting students taking the online grade 4 writing, grade 7 writing, and English I portion of the test.

The TEA is expected to issue further guidance later today on proceeding with online testing on April 7. The agency advised that students who have been able to access the test, should continue testing and that others not able to access the test should be dismissed until the issue is resolved.

Despite millions of young people learning remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas officials mandated that students take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test, in-person at monitored test sites.

The TEA plans to have all students take the STAAR test online by the 2022-23 academic year.


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