Students across Texas weren’t able to take their state-mandated STAAR tests Tuesday morning due to technical issues, with students in Argyle, Denton, Krum and Sanger ISDs impacted.
The Texas Education Agency, in a statement sent out late Tuesday morning, said districts were informed of the issues at 10:17 a.m. and were told to stop online testing for the day.
It went on to say the issues were unacceptable.
The statement said the issues lay with the tests’ vendor, ETS, which “experienced problems with their database system, which are in the process of being corrected.”
“The 2021 online administration of STAAR will be ETS’s last for the State of Texas,” the statement read.
Cambium Assessment will take over the tests’ administration beginning next school year.
Representatives for four local districts confirmed their schools were affected Tuesday.
Taylor Poston, a Krum ISD spokesperson, said parents of fourth graders, seventh graders and high schoolers were sent a message explaining the issue Tuesday morning.
“Anyone who is doing the online testing today is not able to complete their testing,” Poston explained.
She said the fourth and seventh grade writing tests, as well as the high school English I assessment, have been rescheduled to April 13. About 238 students were impacted by the online issues, Poston said, but students taking the tests in-person were still able to do so.
The district letter posted online said the English II test is expected to take place on Thursday.
A message emailed to Denton ISD parents acknowledged the issues and confirmed students taking a paper version of the test were able to complete it normally.
The district’s message explained TEA does not allow students to change their testing method once the test has begun.
Derrick Jackson, a district spokesperson, estimated a little over 7,000 students in grades four, seven and nine were impacted by the testing issues. He said that figure was a rough estimate based on enrollment numbers.
Rick Herrin, a spokesperson for Argyle ISD, said about 100 students across Argyle West Elementary, Argyle Intermediate, Argyle Middle and Argyle High School were impacted Tuesday, and parents were notified Tuesday afternoon.
Marta Chavez, an executive assistant for Sanger ISD Superintendent Tommy Hunter and the school board, said several district students were impacted Tuesday, and the district was awaiting further guidance from the state before deciding on its next steps. More information, including when tests might be rescheduled, was not available Tuesday afternoon.
According to TEA, students testing online faced one of three basic problems:
- They were able to submit answers, but response times were slow.
- Students were unable to log in and begin the test.
- Students were able to begin the test but weren’t able to continue later on.
TEA said answers were saved every 30 seconds, so students in the third camp should be able to pick up roughly where they left off.
Representatives of Argyle and Sanger ISDs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.