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STAAR yes, school ratings no

Seems like this is where we were always headed.

Texas public school students will still take the STAAR test this spring, but the state will not rate schools and districts based on their results, the Texas Education Agency announced Thursday.

The announcement comes as districts report alarming numbers of students failing at least one class this fall and thousands of students who have not showed up to online classes or turned in assignments. In normal years, Texas rates its schools and districts on a scale from A through F, based in large part on the scores students receive on the standardized tests.

“The pandemic has disrupted school operations in fundamental ways that have often been outside the control of our school leaders, making it far more difficult to use these ratings as a tool to support student academic growth. As a result, we will not issue A-F ratings this school year,” Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said Thursday in a statement.

[…]

Last spring, Texas applied for and received a waiver from the federal government allowing it not to administer the STAAR test. It is unclear whether President-elect Joe Biden’s administration will offer similar waivers in 2021.

See here and here for the background. I expect the incoming administration to be pretty understanding, and I am in favor of waiving all of this stuff until everything is well and truly back to normal. No need to make it any harder on the kids than it is already. The Chron and the Press have more.

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5 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    Everyone involved needs to know exactly how much harm has come to the kids from all the covid school closures. This is something that we can quantify via testing. Why do we need to know exactly how much harm we’ve caused?

    A: So we can learn the hard lesson of what we have done wrong, and hopefully, not keep on making the same mistakes. We knew pretty early on that kids weren’t particularly susceptible to covid, but we destroyed their educational system anyway. For those complaining about loss of school funding because of reduced school census numbers…..seems like you’d be downright apoplectic about the arbitrary school closures/poor substitute computer class learning.

  2. Ross says:

    Bill, the biggest issue with not closing schools is that the teachers get sick and die, or are out for extended periods. What do you do when there aren’t any more teachers?

    The STAAR is a piece of crap, designed solely to make money for the people who sell the test. It is culturally biased, and many questions are above grade level.

    Some kids do well in a virtual learning environment. Mine is making straight A’s in 12th grade AP classes, and hasn’t been in a real classroom all year.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    What did we do when teachers were out sick 20 years ago? 50 years ago? Last year? Bring in substitute teachers. This isn’t hard, Ross.

    As to the STAAR test specifically, I’ll defer to your take on it. Heck, it was so long ago, I don’t even remember what the standardized test was called when I was in public school. TASS? TAKS? Something else? Still, there ought to be some quantifiable metric to compare student performance, regardless of school or school district. So if you want to get rid of the STAAR, fine, just tell us which test you want to replace it.

    I mean, don’t you think that maybe the grading scale and instruction rigor is more strenuous at, say, Bellaire, or a magnet school, than it is at North Forest? Shouldn’t we have some way to compare a student from Bellaire and a student from North Forest objectively?

  4. Ross says:

    Bill, schools have trouble getting substitutes now, with the Covid issues. No one wants to go teach in person for the meager wages substitutes get.

    You probably took the Stanford or Iowa tests when you were in school. Of course, those don’t make as much money for the providers, and there is no chance for politicians to grift on a national test.

    I doubt there is much difference between the grading policies at Bellaire and North Forest, assuming similar classes. NF may have fewer AP class students than Bellaire.

  5. Manny says:

    1918 Flu, the closing of schools saved lives, that is one thing that was learned.

    Testing is not an accurate way of measuring how successful schools are, passing rates only measure one’s ability on how well one does on tests.

    Baby Boomers did not have to take tests to graduate, baby boomers, Donald Trump to you Bill. It is probably a good thing as he would probably would not have graduated unless he paid someone.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/08/01/what-do-standardized-tests-actually-test/