AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- The number of Texas students failing the STAAR exam has gone up, according to education officials, and efforts to get them back on track are underway.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) released its spring 2021 STAAR results on Monday.
The results include exams in math and reading for grades 3-8 along with 4th and 7th grade writing, 5th and 8th grade science, 8th grade social studies and high school end-of-course exams in Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History.
The TEA report says since the pandemic, the number of students failing to meet grade level went up from 2019 across all subject areas and grade levels - English I and English II were the only exceptions.
Year-over-year comparisons with 2020 were not made available, as STAAR assessments were not administered in 2020 due to the pandemic. The following information provides a comparison with 2019 results (the most recent year for which the TEA has statewide results available):
Math saw the largest decline in proficiency across all grade levels, according to the report.
Plus, the TEA said school districts with more virtual learners saw more students failing as opposed to those with more in-person learners.
"Thankfully, from early on, Texas prioritized the availability of in-person instruction during this tremendously difficult year," said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath in a statement. "When students come into Texas public schools, they are well-served by Texas educators-a fact that these scores confirm. But it is also painfully clear that the pandemic had a very negative impact on learning. I shudder to consider the long-term impact on children in states that restricted in-person instruction."
Morath said the report is being used by lawmakers to direct resources where they are needed most.
"Parents can log into TexasAssessment.gov to understand how well each of their children learned this year's material, and how to support the academic growth of their children moving forward," said Morath. "Armed with the best information, working closely together, and with significant new supports from the Texas Legislature, we will provide stronger academic growth for students than ever before."
Houston Independent School District released a statement about the STAAR results and said it would be adding more days to the academic calendar to help with instruction.
HISD is aware and concerned about the learning loss that has resulted statewide from educational challenges caused by the pandemic. The recent STAAR test results provide us an opportunity to address student academic needs and utilize resources to regain learning. HISD is adding 15 additional days of instruction and returning to 100% in-person instruction in the fall. We expect this will produce better student outcomes. Additionally, we are formulating plans that will mitigate students' lost time and improve educational performance.
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