Delays in STAAR scores throwing off curriculum planning in East Texas school districts

Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 6:59 AM CDT
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LINDALE, Texas (KLTV) - On Wednesday, August 16, the Texas Education Agency released the latest test scores from the Spring 2023 STAAR 3-8 Assessments and STAAR EOC results.

According to the TEA, distrubition for the final assessment reports became available for district coordinators on August 11, though the official statewide summary reports became public and final on the family and analytic portals five days later.

While the scores have come out mid-June in previous years, this is the first-year school districts are working around the delay to these STAAR scores. This comes after many school districts across East Texas wrapped up their first week of school, which has thrown off planning for the curriculum and structure for the school year.

Lindale I.S.D. Superintendent Stan Surratt says that the delay to the test scores is likely due to the redesign in the STAAR.

“We got them so late, we didn’t benefit from that, but to get them this late it was kind of disappointing,” Surratt said. “It had a lot of changes in the test so I’m assuming that’s why the scores came in later.”

A few changes to the STAAR test this year include addition of more writing to the reading portion of their exams for grades 3-8 and the option to take the exam either online or on a physical copy. Since there is more writing added to the exam, it takes longer for people grading to look through the exams and give it a grade on a one through five-point-rubric, five being the highest score a student can get.

Lindale ISD is already facing barriers with their curriculum planning as the scores served as an outline to gauge what areas need improvement, staff planning, and other needs for the district. In previous years, the district would use the scores to determine summer school placement and readiness programs while also looking at their own data collected throughout the year.

This year, they’ve had to rely on their own data to predict which students needed to be placed in summer courses to catch them up in time for the start of the school year.

“We had our own data that we used but that just another factor that the state STAAR scores, is another factor that we look at, really affected our summer school services and just planning,” Surratt said.

Although the redesign didn’t impact the student performance, it did however impact how districts structure their curriculum to pinpoint what the weaknesses are.

“We use those STAAR scores to plan, plan our curriculum plan our staffing for them next year,” Surratt said.

Another major change to the is the A through F accountability system that grades districts based on performance in the STAAR exam. Those are expected to come out mid-October, though the district grades are also shift in how the grading system works.

“The A through F is really unfair this is the perfect year because school districts are going do better than they did last year but the ratings are going to go down sending a false message to parents and community members,” Surratt said.

Moving forward the school district plans to work with state politicians on what changes could be made with these delays and how they can improve for the following round of testing.

A complete list of the scores, they can be found here. Once on the site, click on the search bar to find your school district where you can also choose grade level, subject and compare years.