AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Texas education officials plan to have all students take the STAAR test online by the 2022 to 2023 school year.
Schools were notified about this change back in fall 2019, so schools in the area have been preparing to switch to online testing.
Right now, schools have the option to take the STAAR testing this year online or on paper, but will have to plan to take the test online by next year.
“Right now, anybody can take an online test and anybody can take a paper test. So, it just depends on what the school decides. So right now, it’s up to the school but by that 2022 school year, it won’t be up to the school any longer,” said Andy Nies, assistant superintendent at River Road ISD.
STAAR testing results determine if students get to move on to the next grade.
Schools are given an A through F rating based on student scores.
This year, schools will not receive ratings because of the pandemic, but students will still be taking the test.
River Road and Canyon ISD have been preparing students to take online tests with different online assessments and both school districts say the pandemic has played a part in teaching more students how to learn online.
“First of all, we’ve been preparing the students for it. You know, with our in-room assessments or bench mark assessments, that’s all online. And that helps the students learn how to take online tests and also teaching them how to take the test online as opposed to a paper test and working with them on that,” said Nies.
The pandemic has also played a role in teaching students how to learn online.
State requirements will stay the same and test accommodations will continue for students who need them.
“Those are embedded in the online tests as opposed to an individual making those accommodations like in on paper test. Like for an oral administration instead of someone reading it, the student can click a button and the program will read that passage to them,” said Nies.
“With a lot of training, with a lot of communication and just ensuring that we know how to fix any issue that comes up, I think well be in good shape,” said Cameron Rosser, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction at Canyon ISD.
Some reasons for the change include faster test results, saving paper and no shipping costs.
“I think it would definitely be more cost effective for the whole state. I guess a con would be if for a school that doesn’t have the bandwidth or their students aren’t ready to take it online because they are used to take it on paper,” said Nies.
“This generation, I really think it’s something that’s doable. Obviously, districts have to keep in mind the technology needs and the bandwidth and different things like that. But for our students they basically were born with a cell phone in their hand, so I don’t think it’s a huge jump for them,” said Rosser.
Both districts had to increase internet bandwidth to accommodate the many students using devices at the same time for testing.