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Parents express frustration over STAAR Test mismanagement at AISD school

KEYE Austin logo KEYE Austin 5/13/2022 Paige Hubbard
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Hundreds of students at Kealing Middle School had to sit in the cafeteria for hours while they were supposed to be STAAR testing on Wednesday. Parents tell CBS Austin students couldn’t test due to a lack of Chromebooks and other issues, so they were placed in the cafeteria while administrators worked to resolve the situation.

We went to the district to get answers while also hearing from parents.

“As a parent, it’s like why weren’t they able to do that,” said Kame Brooks’.

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Caption: {p}AISD says they have districtwide they have successfully administered more than 64,000 online tests for STAAR EOC and STAAR 3-8 since May 3.{/p}

Kame Brooks’ daughter is one of the many students that were unable to take STAAR tests at Kealing Middle School this week.

“The only feedback I’ve gotten was from my own daughter. She said there weren’t enough computers to go around but I haven’t heard anything from the principal staff, from the school like what happened? What’s going on, ?” said Brooks’.

CBS Austin became aware of the issue Wednesday after a parent made a post online expressing frustrations about STAAR testing. Others reached out to us directly. One parent sent a text describing the situation as a “disaster” saying the blame should be placed on the district and school, not teachers.

"Without our teachers, there is no Kealing. The absence of STAAR preparation is yet a blatant example of the lack of professionalism from our fairly new principal. Our district is to blame directly," said one parent who wanted to remain anonymous.

We in turn reached out to Austin Independent School District and asked:

  • Were there any issues with STAAR testing?
  • If so, what were they and how did the issues arise?
  • What did the district do to correct the problem?

RELATED: Texas students take STAAR exams amidst concerns about impact of COVID-19 disruptions

Austin ISD sent us a statement saying, in part:

“Logistical issues, including staffing absences and a need for additional Chromebooks resulted in 222 students being unable to participate in the STAAR reading assessments yesterday.”

One parent says they are pleased the district addressed the problem, but it doesn’t address the problems specific to Kealing’s current leadership that contributed to what happened.

“The events of this week are consistent with other problems at the school this year,” said one parent who wanted to remain anonymous.

Austin ISD says they have since created an updated testing plan to ensure this won’t happen again.

Part of that plan includes:

  • Increasing Chromebook capacity by 196 devices to 300 total devices. The most students who will test on any given day is 295.
  • Set up eight classrooms to be used exclusively for testing in a calm, quiet environment.
  • Train additional testing proctors to ensure staffing absences will not affect testing.

“The STAAR test is important so the kids should be allowed to take it. If there was a discrepancy going on communicate that with the parents. Let us know,” said Brooks

AISD tells us this is an isolated incident, and they apologize for the disruption this may have caused for students and families. They add they’ll Learn from this experience and refine the testing process for the future.

“When a kid is set up in their mind to take a test the next morning and the anxiety is there, and you don’t take the test for whatever reason. That could cause a little setback there," said one parent.

AISD says they have districtwide they have successfully administered more than 64,000 online tests for STAAR EOC and STAAR 3-8 since May 3.

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