Online STAAR test issues begin on day one

By Sahar Chmais
It is the first day of STAAR testing and issues have already risen; STAAR exams for online students have been suspended due to technical issues from the exam vendor.
“Clearly, the company in charge of setting up the online tests didn’t study or prepare for today as hard as the students did,” said Tim Savoy, Chief Communication Officer for Hays CISD.
The test vendor is Education Testing Service.
The suspended exams have affected 1,300 Hays CISD students, more than 1,200 Dripping Springs ISD students and districts with online students across the state. Exams given on Tuesday, April 6, were designated to fourth and seventh grade writing and the English I end of course exam. Online students have to take the test at designated testing sites.
This may seem like a minor inconvenience because it is a matter of rescheduling, Savoy said, but in reality it has a big effect on students. Many students have been preparing for this exam and experienced test anxiety. They went into the site ready to take the exam, only to find out it has been postponed, Savoy explained.
Students will just have to try again when the state is able to reissue the test, but no rescheduled time has been given, Savoy said. In the meantime, Savoy asks that students continue practicing exam preparation skills which include getting restful sleep, eating a healthy breakfast and letting the students know all their work and studying for the exam is still there.
Although the April 6 exams will be postponed for the online students, STAAR testing is expected to resume for all online and in-person participants as scheduled.
“We hope to learn more from the TEA later today,” Savoy said, “or in the coming days, on how school districts will proceed with rescheduling the tests. As soon as we know the next steps, we will communicate that to you, either from the district or through your campuses.”


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Sahar Chmais holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been covering cities in Hays County for one year, touching on residents' struggles and successes, city issues, COVID-19 and more. Prior to reporting on the local spectrum, Sahar reported for a national news organization, covering gun violence. Sahar enjoys working as a local reporter because she gets to work with real people and their stories.

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