The Texas Education Agency released spring 2021 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) results on Monday, and the results showed that students who were being taught in-person scored “appreciably higher” than students learning remotely.
The results include exams in mathematics and reading for grades 3–8, 4th & 7th grade writing, 5th and 8th grade science, 8th grade social studies, and high school end-of-course (EOC) exams in Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History. As a result of the learning disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of students not meeting grade level increased from 2019 across all subject areas and grade levels, with English I and English II being the only exceptions, according to the TEA news release. As a subject area, mathematics reflects the largest decline in proficiency across all grade levels.
Districts with a higher percentage of students learning virtually experienced a greater degree of declines, according to the TEA. Districts with the highest percentage of in-person learners largely avoided any learning declines in reading.
“Thankfully, from early on, Texas prioritized the availability of in-person instruction during this tremendously difficult year,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. “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 information “may be disheartening,” but teachers and school leaders will use the data to build action plans to better support students in the new school year.
“Policymakers are using it to direct resources where they are needed most. And 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,” Morath said. “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.”
Click here to see the results.