HOUSTON - Officials say three STAAR tests were affected by connectivity issues with the online testing platform on Tuesday.
According to the TEA Student Assessment Division, tests for Grade 4 writing, Grade 7 writing, and English I were affected.
"Earlier today, districts experienced connectivity issues with the STAAR Online Testing Platform (SOTP)," the TEA Student Assessment Division said in a statement. "We posted updates to the STAAR Assessment Management System dashboard every 10 minutes to keep districts apprised of the progress in resolving the issue."
Officials say Tuesday was the first of five days that students were eligible to take one of these three tests online.
"At 10:17 a.m. CDT today, districts were advised if they were having issues that they should stop online testing for the day while the vendor works to resolve these problems. Online testing will resume tomorrow," the TEA Student Assessment Division said in a statement. "We are still analyzing data to determine the number of students affected."
Officials say students could have experienced one of the following four scenarios with online testing on Tuesday:
- the student could have successfully submitted the test without disruption
- the student could have successfully submitted answers but may have noticed unusually slow response times;
- the student could have been prevented from logging in to begin with
- the student could have begun to answer questions, but at some point was prevented from continuing. Officials say in this instance, answers were saved every 30 seconds so that these students will be able to pick up where they left off.
The TEA Student Assessment Division said in the statement:
"We understand the frustration this has caused students, parents, teachers, and administrators. What happened today is completely unacceptable. ETS, the testing vendor, 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. Beginning next school year, Cambium Assessment will be taking over these critical testing functions to ensure that users have a seamless online testing experience moving forward. All involved in public education in Texas should expect better than what they have experienced today; we are working to ensure that our students do not experience future testing issues."
In a statement, the Houston Independent School District said:
HISD has been made aware by the Texas Education Agency that they are encountering technical difficulties that are impacting the 2021 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) online administrations. HISD, along with school districts statewide, are experiencing connectivity issues with the STAAR Online Testing Platform (SOTP). As a result, HISD students who were testing online and faced connectivity or technical issues accessing the test, were informed to stop testing. However, HISD students who were able to access the test with no technical issues were informed to continue testing. All paper-based testing administration continued as normal.