Students in 47 counties will get STAAR reprieve because of Harvey

6:47 p.m Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 Texas News & Politics
The Aransas Pass High School marquee was damaged in Hurricane Harvey. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Public school students in 47 counties affected by Hurricane Harvey won’t be held back a grade if they fail state standardized tests this school year.

Typically, students in the fifth and eighth grades must pass the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness to move on to the next grade. Mike Morath, head of the Texas Education Agency, told school districts on Thursday that students in school districts in the counties in the presidential disaster declaration will be waived of that requirement.

The counties include Bastrop, Caldwell, Comal, Lee, and Fayette.

“If a student fails the second test administration, districts will not be required to administer a third test and will have local discretion on whether that student should advance to the next grade. However, districts will be able to continue to administer the third test in June 2018 if they believe it to be in the best interest of the students,” Morath said in the letter.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday urged Morath to relax the testing requirements for Harvey-affected schools, as well as ask the federal government for permission to not grade those campuses this school year under the state’s accountability system.

Morath told school districts on Thursday he intends to put in that request.

All Texas students will still be required to take the STAAR in the spring.

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