Facing a pending deadline to answer the lawsuit filed by four Texas parents challenging the 2016 STAAR administrations for grades 3-8, TEA Commissioner Mike Morath announced major changes to 5th and 8th grade STAAR for this year. In a letter to Texas administrators, Morath announced that the TEA was “removing student consequences attached to STAAR testing for grades 5 and 8 for the remainder of the 2015-16 assessment cycle.” These changes include requiring passage for promotion or requiring accelerated instruction as a result of the STAAR results. GPC meetings (the source of promotion decisions and accelerated instruction plans) are also no longer required. In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, the Commissioner did state that he intended to use the results for accountability ratings for schools. In keeping with the detachment of consequences, the June retest for 5th and 8th graders was cancelled.
The Commissioner left open for district decisions regarding continuing planned accelerated instruction, but made clear it was not a requirement imposed by the state.
Attorneys for the parents stated that they were reviewing the TEA’s announcement and awaiting the answer to the lawsuit.