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14,000-Plus STAAR Exams Affected by Computer Glitch

Nathan Bernier/KUT

The state’s education commissioner revealed on Wednesday the scope of a computer glitch that caused some students taking state standardized exams to lose their answers.

Commissioner Mike Morath told the State Board of Education that more than 14,000 tests were affected by the glitch. A Texas Education Agency spokeswoman told the Tribune’s Kiah Collier that nearly 8,800 of the affected exams were a version of the standardized test given to special-education students.

Districts across the state reported that responses given online were disappearing after students logged out, occurring sometimes after 30 minutes of inactivity or a lost internet connection.

Collier noted the problems began cropping up on the first day of testing for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, exam, “helping fuel an ongoingbacklash against a standardized testing regime that many parents and educators believe is already too stressful.”

Collier added, “If the problem isn't solved by May, Morath said the state would reconsider its contract with Educational Testing Services, the New Jersey-based company it picked last year to develop and administer the state-required exams. The decision to hire ETS made waves as London-based Pearson had held the contract since Texas began requiring state student assessments in the 1980s.”

The Texas Tribune is nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that is a reporting partner of KUT.
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