STAAR Testing Returns But With Big Changes

The COVID-19 pandemic won't put a pause on standardized testing this year. STAAR testing begins next week in school districts across the state.

Video Transcript

- STAAR testing resumes next week, no pandemic pass this year, and yet, there are some major changes here. For younger students, the fear of failing has been removed. And as our Robbie Owens reports now, it's a change that some parents say the state, honestly, should consider keeping.

JENNIFER PATTERSON GREGORY: Tell them, don't worry about it. It's just a test, don't freak out about it.

ROBBIE OWENS: Mom to a blended family of five, Jennifer Patterson Gregory has a fresh perspective on STAAR. She's able to see the benefits.

JENNIFER PATTERSON GREGORY: I understand the necessity of standardized testing with public education, because you need a baseline, a foundation to understand that the teachers are teaching what they're supposed to at each curriculum level and subject matter. So I understand it. It's a necessary evil, I think. I disagree with them putting so much pressure on this one test with these students.

ROBBIE OWENS: And yet, the former educator says the pressure for students and teachers should be put on pause permanently.

JENNIFER PATTERSON GREGORY: It's such a hard time, everybody trying to do the best they can and feeling like they're failing no matter what they're doing.

ROBBIE OWENS: Although the state assessments are still required, there are significant changes this year. A through F letter grades for campuses and districts are suspended. Fifth and eighth grade students will not be retained based on results. The state is also extending the testing window for districts, a change needed to allow them to plan for on-campus testing, because all students, even remote learners, will be required to test on campus.

SHANNON TREJO: The good news is, we've actually had quite a bit of practice at supporting remote learners and returning to the campus for intermittent periods of time to participate in face-to-face instruction.

ROBBIE OWENS: Shannon Trejo is Dallas ISD's chief academic officer.

SHANNON TREJO: Face masks were worn, and students were distributed among the building to make sure that we were able to keep everyone safe and healthy.

ROBBIE OWENS: And this mom says the needs of educators as well.

JENNIFER PATTERSON GREGORY: We, as a community, could do nothing greater for our teachers than to show them grace and forgiveness and Agape love through all of this, because they are just giving so much of themselves to try to provide the best education they can for these students.

ROBBIE OWENS: Robbie Owens, CBS 11 News.