TEXAS STAAR TEST REQUIREMENTS WAIVED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

Mar 16, 2020 by

3.16.20 – Texas Tribune

“Texas STAAR test requirements waived due to coronavirus outbreak: Abbott also said he would ask the federal government to waive federal testing requirements, which apply to all states.”

By Aliyya Swaby

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/03/16/texas-staar-test-requirements-waived-due-coronavirus-outbreak

Excerpts from this article:

In an unprecedented move, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday he would waive testing requirements for this year’s STAAR exam, as many schools expect to be closed at least through the April testing window, due to the new coronavirus.

He also said he would ask the federal government to waive this year’s federal standardized testing requirements, which apply to all states.

According to the state, as of Sunday afternoon, 569 school districts had announced closures due to coronavirus concerns. Texas is not alone, since more than 30 states have closed schools due to coronavirus, affecting at least 30 million public school students nationwide.

The federal government has previously said it might give out targeted waivers from testing for areas where the COVID-19 disease has had significant impact.

The governor’s announcement comes a day after Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath told superintendents and lawmakers on two separate phone calls to prepare for long-term school district closures, potentially through the end of the school year, especially in areas where the new coronavirus has spread.

…Morath said in a statement Monday morning that Abbott had made the right decision on testing: “We are thankful for Governor Abbott’s willingness to waive the STAAR testing requirement, as it allows schools the maximum flexibility to remain focused on public health while also investing in the capacity to support student learning remotely.”

State leaders are giving schools more leeway than they have in the past, showing the increasing seriousness surrounding the COVID-19 disease.

It is not clear exactly what the implications are for students who need to take certain state tests in order to graduate from high school or move on to the next grade. Morath said he would send more specific guidance on student testing and school accountability this week, likely before Thursday.

State leaders have urged school districts to continue to instruct students remotely while they are absent or while schools are closed due to COVID-19, including providing equal access to students with special needs. Morath has said districts will not be financially penalized for student absences as long as they show they are providing remote instruction.

Not every school district has the resources or training necessary to provide quality online instruction, and many low-income students do not have access to reliable internet or have computers at home.

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