HB 3906 from the 86th legislature requires TEA to investigate and develop a transition plan to administer all STAAR and EOC assessments tests electronically by the 2022-2023 school year. The report was due to the Legislature by December 2020. The study in its entirety can be found here.
The study covers statewide survey findings in order to understand where the state is currently at in terms of readiness for 100% STAAR online testing. A nationwide study showed 70% of states are currently using 100% online testing for their primary state-level assessments and 60% of Texas LEAs noted having sufficient bandwidth per student to test electronically.
To facilitate the successful transition of all Texas campuses, HB 3906 requires the 87th legislature to amend TEC §39.02341 to confirm the 2022–23 timeline and clarify the scope for moving to 100 percent electronic assessments. TEA provides two options as possible tools to aid the transition process:
- Consider expanding the authorized use of the Technology and Instructional Materials Allotment funds to explicitly allow internet connectivity and training for online testing; and
- Consider the establishment of a matching grant fund for a one-time network infrastructure investment in LEAs without sufficient internet connectivity
According to TEA’s plan, the one-time statewide investment in network infrastructure will be approximately $12.9-15.1 million; $9.4-$11.1 million would be reimbursable the federal E-rate program. Additional statewide costs include $25.4 million for bandwidth and $7.3 million for personnel costs; a sum of these funds will also be reimbursable. After E-rate funding reimbursements, statewide, LEAs will need to make a one-time investment of $3.5–$4.0 million for network infrastructure and increase annual spending by approximately $13.4 million for additional bandwidth and personnel-related costs to achieve 100 percent STAAR online testing. The study found that a small subset of LEAs will need to make additional investments in internet connectivity and personnel to meet readiness targets.