UPDATE: Students in grades 5 and 8 who encountered online testing issues that disrupted the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exams in math and reading in March 2016 will not be required to retest in the May or June 2016 SSI administrations, Education Commissioner Mike Morath said April 20. After logging in, some students were provided with an incorrect version of the test. Other students were logged out of their tests due to inactivity, and previously selected answers did not appear when they logged back in. However, Morath said districts should determine on an individual basis whether accelerated instruction should be offered in the applicable subject area for the 545 students who did not pass the mathematics and/or reading assessments in March. Districts will be able to identify the students affected by the online testing issues on the district data file of results that they will receive no later than May 5, 2016. 

For state accountability purposes, the plan is to exclude the results of the reading and mathematics tests affected by the online testing issues that occurred in March. In addition, any results from the May retest administration for the affected students will also be excluded from 2016 accountability. Click here to read Morath's full statement.

The April 20 announcement followed a March 29 report in which Morath said several school districts reported problems with the online administration of STAAR.

Some districts reported to the TEA and Educational Testing Service (ETS), the vendor administering STAAR statewide, that students’ previously selected responses on an online test were not appearing. This would occur once a student logged back into their online test after either officially logging out, being timed out after 30 minutes of inactivity, or in situations where districts temporarily lost connectivity to the Internet. Other issues were also identified, TEA said in a news release, providing no other information.

“The technical issues experienced today during the online administration of STAAR are simply unacceptable," Morath said in a statement released by TEA. "Such issues undermine the hard work of our teachers and students. Kids in the classroom should never suffer from mistakes made by adults. Educational Testing Service is not new to administering assessments on a large-scale basis, so I cannot accept the transition to a new testing vendor as an excuse for what occurred. TEA also shares in the responsibility in the proper administration of these assessments. As an agency, we did not live up to that commitment. TEA will continue working with our school districts, charters and ETS to address these and any other outstanding issues.”

Click here to read more about the problem.