Server issues disrupt STAAR testing for students in some Houston-area school districts

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Students across the Houston area may have experienced issues taking the STAAR test Tuesday, Texas Education Agency confirmed.

TEA said there was a temporary disruption in the online version of the test. The students were logged out and unable to log back in.

At the time of the issue, there were approximately 104,000 students taking the test across the state, TEA said.

Only about 40,000 students were affected. The issue was resolved in about 20 minutes.

Several districts were affected by the glitch, including Houston ISD, Fort Bend ISD, Klein ISD, Katy ISD, Alief ISD, Dickinson ISD, Alvin ISD, Friendswood ISD, Spring Branch ISD and Spring ISD.

No student information was lost during the delay in service.

"I think any little glitch like that can throw them off and kind of let them lose their focus," said Klein ISD parent Shera Meyers.

Approximately 345 students in Klein ISD experienced an interruption in testing.

School officials said about 100 students were impacted by testing issues. The issues lasted from 15 minutes to an hour.

Full statement from the district:

"Dickinson ISD had several students affected district-wide by the online STAAR testing glitches on Tuesday. The problems lasted about 30 minutes and the students affected were allocated extra time at the end if needed for the time missed."

About 900 students were impacted by the issue, school officials said. All students were able to complete their tests.

In a letter to parents, the district acknowledged that students were affected by the outage.

Full letter sent to parents:
"As you may be aware, STAAR testing began yesterday across the state of Texas including our Katy ISD campuses. Unfortunately, soon after the test administration began, the Educational Testing Services (ETS), which is the state's vendor for the STAAR exams, reported that a state-wide disruption to its server had caused multiple outages to its online system. These outages impacted students taking grades 5 and 8 reading, grades 4 and 7 writing, and English I. As a result, many students were inadvertently kicked out of the testing session and/or were unable to log back into the ETS system. In addition, some students experienced the assessment "freezing" and had to temporarily log off and log back into the system. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) and ETS were immediately notified of these disruptions. Students impacted by the outages were allowed to have missed time added back to their time limit.

Katy ISD is not currently aware of any students losing their responses. However, we are working with the TEA and ETS and will be reviewing any testing trends once results are released to the district. Thank you for your support and patience as we continue to monitor this situation which has impacted districts across the state. We will update our parents with any additional information that comes to our attention."

Just two years ago, the TEA waived STAAR test requirements for fifth and eighth grade students for the 2015-2016 school year due to ongoing reporting issues with the state's testing vendor.

NOTE: Specific numbers were not available from all school districts. This story will be updated when those numbers become available.
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