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STAAR grade promotion requirement waived. See the details.

The grade promotion requirement related to the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test for students in fifth and eighth grades has been waived for the upcoming school year, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday.

Typically, school systems must take into account a student’s score on the STAAR test to determine whether the student can be promoted to the next grade level.

The traditional A-F rating system will remain in place, albeit with certain adjustments due to COVID-19.

Typically, students enrolled in grades fifth and eighth are required to re-take a STAAR test late in the school year, and sometimes again in the summer, if they do not meet grade level when taken during the spring.

With this waiver, there will only be one administration of the STAAR grades fifth and eighth mathematics and reading assessments for the 2020–21 school year.

The test will be administered in May to coincide with the administration of other STAAR grades 3-8 assessments.

“As always, our goal is to provide a high quality education for every Texas student,” Abbott said.

“This will be a uniquely challenging school year, therefore, this year is about providing students every opportunity to overcome the disruptions caused by COVID-19. By waiving these promotion requirements, we are providing greater flexibility for students and teachers, while at the same time ensuring that Texas students continue to receive a great education — which we will continue to measure with high quality assessments.”

Texas State Teachers Association President Ovidia Molina said they were glad the governor suspended the promotion requirements for fifth and eighth graders that are tied to STAAR scores, but added he didn’t go far enough.

“STAAR testing will still be wasteful and stressful at a time when teachers, students and their parents are stressed out enough over a deadly pandemic,” Molina said. “The governor needs to also suspend the A-F school accountability system and the T-TESS teacher appraisal system for the coming school year. They also are heavily tied to STAAR scores. And while he is at it, he should just suspend STAAR testing for 2020-21, period. It is a distraction that students and teachers don’t need while they learn a new education delivery system, and it is an expense that taxpayers can ill-afford.”

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said parents deserve to know how well their children have learned grade level knowledge and skills in reading and math, especially in a time when education has been substantially disrupted.

“And educators use this valuable information to make adjustments to support students the following year,” Morath said. “But there is no benefit to our children by requiring them to repeat a year based on a single test score given the disruptions of COVID, so we are waiving the grade promotion requirements from STAAR this year for our students.”

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said parents rightfully expect schools to continue to meet a high bar and it is critically important that teachers and parents know how each child is progressing and whether or not they need additional help.

“A-F ratings will provide us with important information about school performance and, while we won’t use the STAAR test to determine promotions, it will continue to provide us with assessment data that we need,” he said. “We face some unprecedented challenges in the upcoming year, but we must continue to keep our schools accountable and on track.”