Lewisville ISD has several concerns regarding the upcoming end-of-course (EOC) exams and how students will take them during the pandemic.
Currently the EOCs, which are part of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test, are scheduled to be taken Dec. 8-18. Per the Texas Education Agency (TEA) the EOCs are not allowed to be taken virtually, even by students who are attending classes remotely.
Last week, LISD officials outlined those concerns to the Texas commissioner of education and offered a few recommendations.
The LISD Board of Trustees on Friday approved a letter to be sent to Commissioner Mike Morath and the TEA.
One of the biggest concerns is the requirement that all students, even those who have chosen remote learning, would have to take the EOCs.
“That would directly contradict the parent/guardian’s choice for the student to remain off campus,” the letter stated.
According to LISD, 40 percent of its high school students are learning virtually. LISD stated combining virtual learners and in-person learners would mean the district would administer 11,916 assessments in person.
“All of our classrooms are in use,” the letter stated, “and the logistics of bringing back all of our online learners to administer the EOC tests at a time when the state is seeing record numbers of COVID cases jeopardizes the health of everyone on campus and every student’s family.”
The district added that there wouldn’t be enough computers for the EOCs on campus since they were given out for virtual learners. It also said it would be difficult for remote students to take the test on campus after not having been on campus all semester.
The district is also concerned about social distancing.
“It will not be possible to actively monitor test takers as defined by TEA and maintain a distance of 6 feet,” the letter stated.
It also said administering the test at an alternative testing site would not be feasible because of transportation issues.
Instead, the district encouraged the state to consider several alternatives. The most preferred option is to cancel the EOC exams for December and “let schools focus on what matters most right now: educating students while meeting their social and emotional needs,” the letter stated.
Other suggestions include having TEA personnel go to district to help administer the EOCs at off-campus sites for virtual learners.
It suggested extending the testing window to January to provide more time to safely have virtual learners on campus to take the test.
LISD suggested having an online version of the EOCs for virtual learners.
Finally it recommended waiving the graduation requirement associated with the EOC and instead have the exam “serve only as a measurement of student mastery.”
The letter stated LISD applauds the TEA for encouraging the U.S. Department of Education to waive the 95% testing requirement.
“However, schools are operating much differently than they have in the past, and the ‘new normal’ we have established with our students and staff prioritizes safety and wellbeing,” the letter stated.