Editorials

When STAAR answers vanish, official hits roof

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.
Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. Dallas Morning News

Mike Morath, the former Dallas school board member named by Gov. Greg Abbott to be the state’s new education commissioner, had some tough words this week for the company administering high-stakes tests to Texas public school students.

Some students taking the annual STAAR exams online Tuesday found that their answers disappeared from their computers.

Educational Testing Service, the New Jersey-based nonprofit behind the SAT college entrance exams, is administering the STAAR tests for the first time this year. The worldwide company also administers a long list of other tests.

In a Tuesday news release, Morath called the problems “unacceptable,” and he added, “Such issues undermine the hard work of our teachers and students. Kids in the classroom should never suffer from mistakes made by adults .”

He was harsh with the contractor: “Educational Testing Service is not new to administering assessments on a large-scale basis, so I cannot accept the transition to a new testing vendor as an excuse for what occurred.”

ETS apologized to Texas school districts. So did Morath, but it’s clear that he’s laying the blame on ETS.

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