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Spring 2021 STARR test scores 'significantly lower' than pre-pandemic levels

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The initial State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, results show that many students performed below their grade level compared to pre-pandemic scores. 

Clint Bond, executive director for external and emergency communications for the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD), told the Dallas Express that recently released scores for high school end of course and grades five and eight reading and math testing show higher numbers of students below grade level across Texas and in FWISD due to the academic impact of COVID.  

“Performance on the spring 2021 tests is significantly lower than pre-pandemic performance in spring 2019,” Bond told the Dallas Express.

He said that STAAR test results for grades three through eight reflect similar performance.

In order to get students back on track, Bond said that they have more students working on their academic performance this summer than usual. 

“We have tripled the number of students participating in summer session compared to other years,” Bond said.  

The superintendent of FWISD schools said that the results weren’t a surprise. 

“This was not unexpected,” said Superintendent Kent P. Scribner in a press release from the school district. “And, we are happy to have this opportunity to share our plans moving forward. Helping our students with this task is not unsurmountable – and, in fact, it has opened the door for some new ways of doing things.”

The summer program is called “Summer Launch” and is available to all students. 

On average, about 5,000 students attend summer school, but this year there are 15,000 students in class, the school district said in a press release

The school district added that the vast majority of these students are attending in-person.

“We recognize that the past 16 months have been extraordinarily difficult for our families, our students, our teachers and staff,” Dr. Scribner said. “We now have an opportunity to respond to this data with initiatives and solutions to accelerate student learning to regain and surpass pre-pandemic levels of learning. With the support of Board Trustees, we are committed to doing that work.”

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