Texas Schools Foot Big Bill for STARR Retakes

Friday, June 15, 2012

The school year ended the first week of June for most Texas students, but for hundreds of thousands of them, it won’t mean the end of class.

Because of low scores on the state’s new end-of-course exams, or EOCs, many incoming 10th-graders will have to retake them in July, landing them in summer classes to prepare — and leaving school districts with a hefty bill.

This year, the scores on the exams don’t count toward high school students’ final grades or toward school districts’ accountability ratings. But a requirement that students retake a test if they do not achieve a minimum score remains in place.

As part of the new accountability system, high school students — starting with this year’s ninth-graders — must achieve a cumulative score across 15 standardized tests in order to graduate. Though students are getting a short-term break from having the exams factor into their final grades, this year’s round of tests will count for that cumulative score. That’s bad news for the students who are eligible to retake the exam in early July, and also for the school districts who must foot the bill for summer school, or what some districts are calling “EOC camp.”

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