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TEA News Releases Online June 10, 2016
Commissioner Morath waives grade 5 and 8 student retesting and retention requirements

AUSTIN – As a result of ongoing reporting issues with the state’s testing vendor, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced today that the state will be removing student consequences attached to State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) for fifth and eighth-grade students for the 2015-2016 school year. He also cancelled the June 21-22 fifth and eighth-grade retest administration.

Even though state requirements have been waived, districts are still encouraged to use local discretion to determine on an individual basis whether accelerated instruction should be offered to support students. Districts will not be required to convene Grade Placement Committees but are encouraged to use all relevant and available academic information to make promotion decisions.

Morath said, “I apologize for the continuing problems our students and staff are being forced to deal with because of ongoing reporting issues with our testing vendor. Kids in the classroom should never suffer from mistakes made by adults.  We intend to hold the vendor, Educational Testing Service, accountable.”

Normally, fifth and eighth-grade students must pass the reading and math assessments in order to be promoted. If a student does not pass the tests after three tries, the student must be retained unless a Grade Placement Committee, composed of a principal, teacher, and the student’s parents, unanimously agrees to promote the child to the next grade level. State law gives the commissioner the ability to waive this law when necessary.

The full letter is available at http://tea.texas.gov/taa_letters.aspx.