The results are in and the data released Monday from the Texas Education Agency reveals that many students tested for STAAR tests in 2021 have slipped significantly in their academic proficiency compared to 2019, the last year the standardized test was administered.
TEA Commissioner Mike Morath warned the State Board of Education last week ahead of the test results, saying the results were “problematic” and that the state will need to accelerate learning to catch up all scholars who are behind due to the pandemic. Among all students tested, there was a 4% increase in students that did not meet their grade level in reading compared to 2019 and a 16% increase in students that did not meet their grade level in math.
The results show that mathematics saw the largest decline in proficiency and districts with the highest percentages of students learning virtually saw the greatest degree of declines. The school districts which reported higher in-person student counts performed better on their STAAR tests than districts which reported higher numbers of remote learners.
Morath encouraged parents to get involved, read into their children’s scores and open a dialogue with school principals and teachers to find out what the best course of action is moving forward. Morath said, “The data may be disheartening, but with it, our teachers and school leaders are building action plans to support students in the new school year.”
Morath reported that historically, across all grades, only 4% of students who are below grade level catch up in two years. House Bill 4545, which passed during the 2021 legislative session, requires school districts to offer high performing teachers and additional tutoring to any student who did not meet their grade level STAAR expectations.
Governor Abbott waived grade promotion requirements for the 2021 STAAR tests, but students were still asked to report to campus to take it so the state could determine the effects of the pandemic on the school year. The TEA says it will be working with school districts throughout the summer to provide additional support and expanded learning time wherever appropriate.
Parents and guardians can log into TexasAssessment.gov to see how their student comprehended this year’s material.