TEA says statewide disruption of STARR testing resolved

The Texas Education Agency says Tuesday’s statewide disruption of the STARR test has been resolved.

North Texas school districts are working to reschedule tests after a technical issue caused problems with English and writing assessments.

For now, the problem with online testing appears to have been resolved, but parents and teachers say they don’t have much confidence it won’t happen again.

MORE: STAAR testing temporarily suspended due to statewide technical issues

Tuesday’s statewide issues with online STAAR testing caused a lot of stress and confusion among students and parents.

Melody Schell had two freshmen in Plano ISD scheduled to take the English assessment, but they sat for hours and weren’t even able to start the test.

"Considering the millions and billions of dollars that had gone into that test, you would think that being able to execute taking that test and not wasting an entire academic day," she said.

Others like Heather Kelly’s daughter taking the English test at Cleburne High School were nearly finished when the TEA suspended testing for the day.

"She was pretty upset about it last night. Just frustrated. Lots of confusion yesterday," Kelly said. "They did the best they could with what they had to deal with. I know there were a lot of unknowns going around. Not sure who’s doing what. What’s going on. How are we supposed to do this?"

The TEA says student answers will be saved.

Online testers can now switch to the paper version if they choose and have their computer results voided.  

Students will not get to reset the clock, but the TEA says administrators should have an estimate of much time is left.

The United Educators Association and other teacher unions have called for the STARR test to be cancelled this year so teachers can focus on getting kids caught up.

"They say it was a vendor error. It’s the same vendor that had problems in 2016 and 2018," said United Educators Association Executive Director Steven Poole. "I don’t buy it. It is just another long string of errors around standardized testing here in Texas, and the TEA needs to get its house in order."

When online testing does resume, the TEA says the dictionary function is now disabled so districts will need to provide physical dictionaries to students instead.

"I’m sure we’re going to encounter problems further even with a different vendor," Poole said. "The state and TEA wants to move to all online testing in 2022. They’re not prepared, and they showed it yesterday."

The TEA had previously given districts an extended five-week window to complete STAAR testing.

Some districts have already informed parents of rescheduled dates. Others, like Dallas ISD, are allowing each campus to make the decision on rescheduling.