The Texas Education Agency released the scores for the 2020-2021 STAAR test. The results show an increase in students not meeting their grade levels proficiency within all subjects except English 1 and 2. Many educators saying these results did not come as a surprise.
Through the past year, students have been pulled in many different directions, from learning in the classroom, to online learning from the comfort of their home, and then back to the classroom. The TEA reports that back and forth had an effect on STAAR test scores.
“It's like rediscovering that the sky is still blue. It's no surprise that there was going to be some learning delays and evidence of learning delays, because of the pandemic,” said Rick Beaule, President of the Killeen Educators Association.
Tell me something I don’t know, that's exactly how educators like Beaule feel about this year's STAAR Test scores. Beaule believes the hurdles left and right for teachers and students all played a role in the average 10-15% increase in students not meeting grade level expectations.
“You had educators that were working two jobs, creating lessons for both a virtual world and an in person,” Beaule said. “Now we make a plan, and now we work to fix it. So, I guess my bigger concern is more involved with the TEA trying to frame the decision to go back to in person is having an impact.”
The TEA also reported student who had more in person learning did better than those students who were hybrid or strictly virtual learners.
Now, local school districts are just looking to move forward. Both Copperas Cove and temple ISD’S have their own benchmark assessments they've been using since the beginning of the school year. STAAR test results only echoed their own scores.
“Everything we do from this point on has to be very intentional and focused on the individual needs of those learners," Amanda Crawley, Deputy Superintendent for Copperas Cove ISD said.
The solution a more individualized learning approach. CCISD planning on creating intervention and accelerated learning programs.
“Where we're going to have to really buckle down and make sure that we're doing what each individual child needs, because every student at a different place right now,” Crawley said. “This information, the star test is very good diagnostic information for us about each individual student's needs. It tells us right where their learning loss was, and it kind of pinpoints that for us.”
Temple ISD planning on taking a similar approach. According to Dr. Lisa Adams, Assistant Superintendent of Temple ISD, the district hopes to hire more staff to better focus on each student's needs and will assess students on a holistic level.
“We know exactly where the gaps are, as well as where the strengths are, celebrate those strengths and build on those as we move into the new school year,” said Dr. Adams. “I think that you know, and really being focused and targeted on that with that for the next two or three years, I think that will really be the difference maker for our students.”
Dr. Adams says there are also a sea of other things that need to be addressed when it comes to evaluating a student's learning and progress that go beyond the STAAR test parameters.
“We can't forget social emotional learning. So, if a student doesn't feel safe and happy, they really struggle to advance academically and so, the district is also will be investing in a social emotional, we're calling them an SEO specialist at the campus at each one of our campuses,” Adams said. “We're just going to continue to provide that extra support next year. And that's something that we didn't we weren't able to do this year. But we but we are next year with some additional funding that we're receiving from the from the federal government.”
To take a look the full TEA Analysis report click here.