March 2016 STAAR Grades 5 and 8 Mathematics and Reading Online Testing Issues

Word Version

April 20, 2016

To the Administrator Addressed: 

SUBJECT:  March 2016 STAAR Grades 5 and 8 Mathematics and Reading Online Testing Issues

The purpose of this communication is to provide additional information regarding Student Success Initiative (SSI) requirements for students who were affected by the online testing issues that occurred in March. These decisions are based on TEA’s commitment to ensure that the affected students are not penalized due to these issues. 

During the March 2016 administration of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®), 545 students in grades 5 and 8 testing online encountered issues that disrupted testing. For example, after logging in, some students were provided with an incorrect version of the test. Other students were logged out of their tests due to inactivity, and previously selected answers did not appear when they logged back in.  

Students in grades 5 and 8 who were directly affected by the two issues above and who did not perform satisfactorily on the March 2016 mathematics and/or reading tests will not be required to retest in the May or June 2016 SSI administrations. However, districts should determine on an individual basis whether accelerated instruction should be offered in the applicable subject area for students who did not pass the mathematics and/or reading assessments in March. For the 2015–2016 school year, districts will use other relevant academic information to make promotion/retention decisions for these students, such as the recommendation of the teacher and the student’s grade in each subject. 

It is possible that no students in your district were affected; districts will be able to identify the students affected by the online testing issues on the district data file of results that they will receive no later than May 5, 2016. 

For state accountability purposes, the plan is to exclude the results of the reading and mathematics tests affected by the online testing issues that occurred in March. In addition, any results from the May retest administration for the affected students will also be excluded from 2016 accountability.  If, however, including the results from either the March or May test administration would change a district or campus rating from Improvement Required to Met Standard, that district or campus will receive a Met Standard rating. The data will remain the same; only the rating will change. TEA will conduct this analysis prior to the release of the preliminary ratings on August 12. 

While it is possible that a district or campus could benefit if a student retests and passes, all decisions about retesting in May should be made in the best interest of the student.

Additional information about the plan to address this issue in the accountability and monitoring systems for all test results affected by the online testing issues that occurred in March will be provided to districts by early next week.  

If you need more information about SSI testing requirements, please contact the Student Assessment Division at 512-463-9536. If you have questions about state accountability, please contact the Performance Reporting Division at 512-463-9704.

Sincerely,

Mike Morath
Commissioner of Education