By Nathan Seelig
After encountering numerous technical difficulties, the English I EOC exam was suspended by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on Tuesday, April 6. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most tests this year are set to be administered by computer, in contrast with previous years where it has been done on paper.
However, issues with the software, designed by vendor ETS, arose almost immediately. Many students reported long wait times to access the test and were kicked out of it shortly after beginning. In addition to the English I EOC, both the Fourth Grade and Seventh Grade Writing STAARs experienced technical difficulties.
In a press release, the TEA stated that “We understand the frustration this has caused students, parents, teachers, and administrators. What happened today is completely unacceptable. All involved in public education in Texas should expect better than what they have experienced today; we are working to ensure that our students do not experience future testing issues.”
Despite millions of students enrolled in online school due to the pandemic, Texas mandated in-person testing. Statewide administrators did this citing a need to measure students’ progress during the pandemic.
Freshman Joseph Juluan was taking the English I EOC when the technical difficulties began to occur. “I only got to take the test for 15 minutes before my computer received an error message,” says Juluan, who personally prefers the paper test format but is open to an online option in the future.
SBISD nor the TEA has officially said anything about potential makeup tests for the thousands of students affected by the problems on Tuesday. At the moment, the TEA plans to go forward as planned with all upcoming tests, including the English II EOC, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday, April 8.