STAAR test will proceed, but no A-F ratings for 2020-2021 school year, TEA says

HOUSTON – The Texas Education Agency has announced some major changes to the grading system for the current school year. According to a news release, the TEA will be pausing the A-F ratings for the 2020-21 school year due to the ongoing difficulties brought on by the coronavirus. “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,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. “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.”However, despite the change in grading, the TEA said the STAAR test will proceed as planned in order to “provide critically important information about individual student learning that teachers and parents can use to help students grow. For those schools that incorporate STAAR results into teacher evaluations, TEA is providing flexibility to allow them to remove that component this school year.”The TEA said that while the state exam will not be used for accountability purposes this year, it will help teacher and parents evaluate the progress of individual students while also providing education leaders and policymakers a “comprehensive picture of what are likely to be sweeping impacts of the pandemic on student learning, helping policymakers craft solutions for the years ahead.”