8th Grade STAAR Retests Canceled. Summer School Will Continue as Planned.

In response to the Press Release below, Temple ISD will continue to serve and support students that were identified for summer school this academic year. Although the tests are no longer used for retention purposes, continued support for students in need of remediation is sound educational practice. These students have already been receiving summer remediation and support. Abruptly dismissing students from academic support, transportation services and other logistics they are leveraging for success would not be consistent with the Temple model of serving students.

We applaud and support Commissioner Morath's decision to withdraw the third testing administration and retention requirements; and will ensure that no student will be retained solely on the basis of 5th and 8th grade testing performance. Also, students will not sit for a third testing administration. Per the Commissioner's press release, Temple ISD will exercise local discretion and continue serving students in need of additional academic support.

Texas Education Agency Press Release:

Commissioner Morath waives grade 5 and 8 student retesting and retention requirements

AUSTIN – As a result of ongoing reporting issues with the state’s testing vendor, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced today that the state will be removing student consequences attached to State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) for fifth and eighth-grade students for the 2015-2016 school year. He also cancelled the June 21-22 fifth and eighth-grade retest administration.

Even though state requirements have been waived, districts are still encouraged to use local discretion to determine on an individual basis whether accelerated instruction should be offered to support students. Districts will not be required to convene Grade Placement Committees but are encouraged to use all relevant and available academic information to make promotion decisions.

Morath said, “I apologize for the continuing problems our students and staff are being forced to deal with because of ongoing reporting issues with our testing vendor. Kids in the classroom should never suffer from mistakes made by adults. We intend to hold the vendor, Educational Testing Service, accountable.”

Normally, fifth and eighth-grade students must pass the reading and math assessments in order to be promoted. If a student does not pass the tests after three tries, the student must be retained unless a Grade Placement Committee, composed of a principal, teacher, and the student’s parents, unanimously agrees to promote the child to the next grade level. State law gives the commissioner the ability to waive this law when necessary.