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Texas pauses A-F grading for 2020-21 school year; STAAR test to proceed

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused so many disruptions this school year, the TEA decided it will pause A-F ratings.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Education Agency announced Thursday that it will pause A-F ratings for the 2020-21 school year due to the "ongoing disruptions associated with COVID-19."

Editor's note: The video at the top of this article is from a report in early December about HISD students' struggles.

The STAAR test will proceed "in order to provide critically important information about individual student learning that teachers and parents can use to help students grow."

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“The last nine months have been some of the most disruptive of our lives. The challenges have been especially pronounced for our parents, teachers, and students. We continue to prioritize the health and safety of students, teachers, and staff in our schools this year, while working to ensure students grow academically,” Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said. “The issuance of A-F ratings for schools has proven to be a valuable tool to support continuous improvement for our students, allowing educators, parents, and the general public to better identify and expand efforts that are working for kids. But the pandemic has disrupted school operations in fundamental ways that have often been outside the control of our school leaders, making it far more difficult to use these ratings as a tool to support student academic growth. As a result, we will not issue A-F ratings this school year."

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Students' success on the STAAR test is incorporated into teacher evaluations at some schools. The TEA said that component can be removed this year and the test results will not be used for accountability purposes.

The test will be available to every eligible student and will be administered on campuses across the state or at other secure testing sites.

Houston ISD statement

The district supports the decision announced by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to pause A-F ratings for schools and districts as it will allow us to continue to focus on successfully meeting the challenges presented by the pandemic so that our students can achieve the best possible academic outcomes and receive supports for their social and emotional well-being.

We will follow the TEA’s directive to administer the STAAR test this school year, not as an accountability metric, but as a means of gauging students’ academic performances in order to better create comprehensive scholastic strategies and solutions for the future.

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