Patch is reporting that Gov. Greg Abbott announced a big change for 5th and 8th grade students who take the STAAR Test.

Here in Texas, students in the third grade through 12th grade are usually required to take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness or STAAR test. Usually 5th and 8th graders must pass the STARR test in order to graduate to the next grade, but this year is different. Although they'll still take the test, they won't be held back if they don't pass it. School administrators will also have discretion on whether to hold students back due to poor performance.

This move comes as both parents and educators, along with lawmakers from both parties, have been suggesting that Gov. Abbott call off the testing requirements for the 2020-2021 school year because of how the pandemic has affected the learning process for students.

Gov. Abbott said in a statement on Monday,

"By waiving these promotion requirements, we are providing greater flexibility for students and teachers, while at the same time ensuring that Texas students continue to receive a great education — which we will continue to measure with high quality assessments."

Following Gov. Abbott's announcement on Monday, The Texas State Teachers Association criticized Abbott's decision saying he should have just cancelled the exam set for next spring.

Ovidia Molina, president of The Texas State Teachers Association said in a statement:

"We are glad the governor suspended the promotion requirements for fifth and eighth graders that are tied to STAAR scores for the upcoming school year, but he didn't go far enough. STAAR testing will still be wasteful and stressful at a time when teachers, students and their parents are stressed out enough over a deadly pandemic."

Students will still have to take the test, but it will be up to teachers to decide if those who fail can move on to the next grade.

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