Saginaw principal vents about STAAR testing glitch

A Saginaw Elementary School principal used social media to express her frustration over technical problems during their online STAAR testing.

The Texas Education Agency confirmed students taking the STAAR test on Tuesday were met with software problems out of their control. The principal said the glitch caused a delay she says likely broke her students’ concentration.

The test, provided to schools by contractor Educational Testing Services, was mired with long delays and difficulties opening and closing test sessions. The entire test, at one point, shut down for more than 90 minutes.

Amber Beene, principal at Saginaw Elementary, was so disturbed she wrote a four-page letter criticizing the online test malfunctions and the process. She posted it on her personal Facebook page.

In part it says: "These students (and their parents, their teachers and the taxpaying public) deserve better from the adults who, in their wisdom, have decided to subject children to high-stakes testing environments...

By the time we had everything back up and running, with computers restarted and updates complete, it was 11:20 a.m. Students who receive extra testing time (as an accommodation for learning challenges) lost one and a half hours of time and experienced disruptions to an already stressful, taxing and highly consequential exam."

Parents and grandparents said the glitches were needless and need to be fixed for next year.

"They have to reboot themselves. Where they were just starting, then an hour and a half they have to wait, it’s really stressful on the kids,” said grandparent Larry Schneid.

None of the adults had an issue with the principal going public with her frustrations.

“I don't blame her for writing something she wasn't happy about,” said grandparent Lola Schneid

Districts across the state have experienced glitches with testing. The TEA said it’s working with the contractor to determine what caused the disruptions.

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