2024 STAAR Results Released, Little Gained

Test Exam Paper | Image by Nana_studio/Shutterstock

End-of-the-year assessments of Texas students show little change across the board since the school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) released the statewide results from this Spring’s STAAR exams on Friday. While there has been some improvement in English, students are still lagging behind pre-pandemic scores in math and science.

“The 2024 STAAR End-of-Course results highlight both the progress Texas students and educators have made and the challenges that remain to help students improve outcomes, which can only come from a robust assessment and accountability system,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. “While we celebrate the gains in English II, we must also acknowledge the areas where student performance has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels.”

More specifically, TEA data shows that compared to last year, the share of Texas students achieving grade level in Algebra I, Biology, and English I in Spring 2024 did not change.

Meanwhile, a 2% slip was recorded in U.S. History, with 69% of students scoring at grade level in 2024 compared to 71% in 2023. The assessment shows a 4% bump in English II, the only subject in which students, on average, are outperforming pre-pandemic scores.

The impact of school closures and online learning continues to be felt across the nation, whether in the form of ballooning rates of student absenteeism, upticks in classroom misbehavior, or lackluster student achievement.

While considerable emphasis has been placed on improving literacy among students after the pandemic through new scientifically developed teaching methods, academic outcomes in subjects such as math have continued to suffer. Nationwide assessments show that students are worse in math than ever before, leading many experts to sound the alarm to improve curricula, with some even calling for legislative action.

Before the pandemic, in Spring 2019, 62% of Texas students scored at grade level on their STAAR exam for Algebra I, and 63% did so for Biology. These shares slumped dramatically to 41% and 54% in Spring 2021, respectively, and have since improved slightly to 45% and 57%.

District-level results for Spring 2024 have yet to be made available to the public; however, the Dallas Independent School District — the second largest district in the state — underperformed compared to the statewide average in several categories in the 2021-2022 school year. Just 41% of DISD students scored at grade level or above on their STAAR exams compared to the statewide average of 48%.

This gap has persisted into 2023, with STAAR results especially lagging for DISD students in grade 7 math (14% of students meeting or exceeding grade level compared to the statewide average of 35%) and in grades 5 and 8 science (29% and 34% meeting or exceeding grade level compared to 34% and 45% statewide, respectively).

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