Scores won't impact accountability ratings, unless they positively benefit a district or campus

Following two online STAAR testing disruptions this spring, Education Commissioner Mike Morath said TEA won’t penalize certain students who didn’t pass the state standardized test this year.

TEA will also ask New Jersey-based Educational Testing Service, which administers the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, to pay $100,000 in liquidated damages for the testing problems.

“As we continue to build upon our online platform to provide greater support to students, we cannot allow technical disruptions during testing,” Morath said in a May 24, 2018, news release. “We are committed to providing a positive assessment experience for our districts and students.”

In April, 41,702 students were kicked off the online STAAR for about 20 minutes because a server crashed. In May, 29,307 students experienced a slowed connection for about 90 minutes. Many of the students who took the test online are in special education. In June, Morath updated the May estimate and said 58,743 students experienced slowdowns or were briefly logged out.

Morath said fifth- and eighth-graders who experienced the disruptions will not have to pass the STAAR this year to move on to the next grade. Their scores also will not affect district or campus accountability ratings unless they would raise the overall score.

In addition to fining ETS, Morath said TEA will look for another company to administer the STAAR exams.