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VERIFY: Texas did not have the option to skip STAAR testing this school year

Some people wrote the Verify team wanting to know if Texas had a choice this year?

HOUSTON — High school seniors are required to take the STAAR test in person this year.

It is a change from last year when the state got a waiver to opt out because of the pandemic.

Some people wrote the Verify team wanting to know if Texas had a choice this year?

Millions of kids in Texas are still learning online. But this year, the state is expecting them to show up at a school to take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness Tests. Education leaders said elementary and middle school students won’t be penalized or held back a grade for skipping. But high school seniors must pass or they may not graduate.

Leann wrote the Verify team, “It is my understanding that Texas had a choice and decided not to opt out of STAAR testing this year? Is that true?”

We have three sources for this. The U.S. Department of Education, the Texas Education Agency and Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.

The USDE sent a letter in February stating standardized testing would go on. But states could apply for a number of waivers. That is why the elementary and middle schools could opt out.

However, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said during a meeting with the State Board of Education earlier this year, dropping the STAAR requirement for high school seniors was not an option.

Morath said, “It is what it is.”

So, we can Verify that Texas could not entirely skip the STAAR, even if they wanted to.

Some states appealed for a waiver to totally opt out standardized testing. The USDE denied five of them because they did not “demonstrate a need.”

Only schools Washington D.C. were allowed to do away with the testing. That is because 88% of its students are still participating in virtual learning.