Coppell ISD is joining other districts in North Texas in asking the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for a little flexibility with its State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests.
Specifically, CISD would like some relief from the end-of-course (EOC) exams, which are set to take place in December.
This past week CISD sent a letter to Mike Morath, the state’s commissioner of education, voicing the district’s concern of having the EOC exams in December.
Concerns include the logistics of having all of its high school students on campus at the same time to take the test. Currently the state does not allow the EOCs to be taken remotely.
Brad Hunt, CISD superintendent, said 69 percent of CISD’s high school students are remote learners.
“Requiring almost 2,900 learners to come in person in addition to those already on campus puts all at risk, when we are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 cases,” Hunt said. “There could be possible exposures, increased numbers in quarantine, which will affect our educators, staff, siblings at other schools and community.”
Hunt also said the district can’t ensure 6-foot social distancing or active monitor the tests safely.
“We also would incur additional costs for transportation to ensure these students travel safely to and from campus during the school day,” Hunt said. “These factors would cause a stressful testing environment, which we feel would not allow our students to perform to their best on this assessment, which currently also serves as a graduation requirement.”
Hunt said the district has received concerns from parents of remote students taking the EOCs in person.
“They do not want their children to come back for a test, which will put them and their teachers at risk,” Hunt said. “The stress of these circumstances also may cause their children to not perform well on this assessment. Our parents of remote learners do not want to put their child’s or a teacher at risk for this exam.”
In the letter to Morath, CISD made several recommendations for alternatives. One was to postpone the December EOC tests and let the districts focus on students’ social and emotional needs.
The letter also suggested deploying TEA personnel to assist school districts with administering the tests. It recommended extending the testing window to January to give schools more time to work out the logistics of getting the distance learners on campus.
It suggested offering an online version of the EOCs. And it requested waiving the graduation requirement associated with the EOCs.
“CISD has always said we are committed to offering our families a choice of in person or remote learning,” Hunt said. “We would like this to extend to EOCs, and we ask the state to partner with us to do what is best for all of our students.”