Full scope of STAAR test glitch not yet known

 Fewer than 50 Hays CISD students were affected after issues were discovered with the Texas Education Agency’s online State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test.

But according to Hays CISD public information officer Tim Savoy, exactly how many students’ test answers were affected by the glitch won’t be known until results come back in June.

Savoy said, however, affected students won’t be penalized as a result of the issue.

“(Fifty) is a high number, but we’re pleased they won’t be penalized for something that wasn’t their fault,” Savoy said.

According to a TEA press release, the TEA became aware of technical issues March 29 involving the online STAAR test after a number of districts, included Hays CISD, reported issues.

Districts reported to the TEA and the Educational Testing Service, which administers the STAAR test statewide, that students’ previously selected responses to the online test weren’t appearing.

The problem occurred once a student logged back on to their test after logging out, after the test timed out after 30 minutes, or where the district lost connectivity to the internet.

“The technical issues experienced today during the online administration of STAAR are simply unacceptable,” Commission of Education Mike Morath said in a statement March 29. “Such issues undermine the hard work of our teachers and students. Kids in the classroom should never suffer from mistakes made by adults.”

Morath went on to add that ETS isn’t new to administering tests on a “large scale basis,” so he couldn’t accept the transition to a new testing vendor as an excuse.

“TEA also shares in the responsibility in the proper administration of these assessments,” Morath said.

Testing resumed March 31, with ETS restoring all of the student responses “that could be recovered,” according to the release. According to report from KXAN, the Leander, Round Rock and Austin ISDs experienced online STAAR test issues.

Savoy said Hays CISD immediately contacted the TEA to report the issues, which is standard district protocol.

“When there is a concern or issues with testing, we call them. We report it right away,” Savoy said. “The protocol is to call them right away with any testing issue that comes up.”

The district, however, wouldn’t know the full scope of the impact until this summer.

“There could be the issue where answers were not recovered (by ETS),” Savoy said. “TEA has said those students will not be penalized.”

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