Patty Young teaches seventh grade language arts at Murchison Middle School in Austin.

Credit: Courtesy Patty Young

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After a year of virtual learning for many, Texas officials mandated that students taking the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR exam, do so in person at monitored test sites.

But when technical issues delayed or canceled the exams for thousands of test takers this week, teachers like Patty Young saw it as a sign that the exams shouldn’t be happening in the midst of a pandemic. The seventh grade language arts teacher says the tests are just causing kids unnecessary stress.

While the test is required this year, there is no penalty for elementary and middle school students who don’t show up or who fail the STAAR test this year. Texas officials have said the test would not affect students’ ability to move up to the next grade. But high school students must pass five subject-specific courses by the time they graduate, a requirement that will not be waived this year.

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