HOUSTON - Spring is STAAR testing season, but this year it comes with a bit of confusion. Many parents of virtual learners are wondering what are their options. The short answer is the state is not allowing virtual students to take the STAAR test at home, but that doesn’t necessarily mean kids have to go into the building if you don’t want them to.
This week is STAAR testing for most students in the Houston area including students learning virtually from home but because of this, "The TEA did not allow for virtual students to take the actual STAAR test from home. It is a secure test," explains Yolanda Rodriguez, Houston ISD Interim Chief Academic Officer.
As a result, 9th grader Shannon Williams won’t be taking it this year.
"I’m keeping her home just to keep her safe. They actually had a positive case last week on her campus. So I think right now it’s safer to keep her home," explains Shannon’s mom, Sherry Williams.
The Texas Education Agency decided, due to the pandemic, students don’t have to pass the STAAR test to advance to the next grade, but high school students do have to take it as a graduation requirement.
"HISD really is encouraging our parents to consider sending their child to take the test. We have made accomodations for proper spacing using all our safety protocols," says Rodriguez.
In fact, students in grade levels that aren’t testing will work from home on the STAAR testing days as yet another safety measure.
Even so, "I don’t feel she is ready to take it honestly. I'm not sure how much information she retained in order to be successful. Virtual learning is not the same as an in class setting. So honestly I don’t think many virtual students will be successful on this exam," says Sherry.
High school students who don’t take the STAAR test this week will have to take it next year, along with the other required STAAR texts for their new grade level.