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While other states are requesting waivers from federally-mandated tests this spring, Texas is moving forward, requiring all students to take in-person tests.
Given the stress and dislocation caused by the pandemic, this is madness. State Commissioner Mike Morath was never an educator, and apparently he lacks common decency. Instruction has been uneven for almost a year, and many students have experienced the trauma of severe illness and death in their family. What is Morath thinking? He is certainly not thinking of the well-being of students.
Texas public school students must show up in person to take the STAAR test this spring, and districts can apply for waivers to socially distance test takers, according to recent guidance released by the Texas Education Agency.
The state is moving forward with the state standardized tests, taken in grades three through 12, this spring and summer during the pandemic and requiring students to take them at a “monitored” testing site. School districts can set up sites outside of their schools, including performing arts centers, hotels and recreation centers where they can “ensure equitable access and maintain test security.”
Texas is requiring all districts to allow in-person learning for all students who want it, with few exceptions. A state survey at the end of October showed 2.8 million of 5.5 million students were learning on campus, meaning millions were still learning remotely.
Although some may be reluctant to return in person during a pandemic, Texas high school students receiving remote instruction who do not show up to take the required standardized exams may not be able to graduate. Texas has already said students in younger grades who fail required STAAR exams can move up to the next grade. And as of December, school districts will not receive state ratings this year based on how their students perform on the exams.