Texas waives STAAR test passing rules, fines firm after testing glitches

The Texas Education Agency slammed its standardized test vendor with $100,000 in damages and will re-bid the contract in June, after thousands of students were logged out of the testing system this spring. (Photo: CBS Austin)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- After glitches during statewide standardized testing, Texas is excusing students affected from some passing requirements and fining the firm that administers the exams.

Last month, 41,702 students were booted for about 20 minutes from the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, or STAAR exam. Then, earlier this month, 29,307 students taking it were affected by about 90 minutes of connectivity slowdowns.

Education Commissioner Mike Morath announced Thursday that 5th and 8th graders who were affected won't be required to pass the exams to move on to the next grade. Testing problems also will be taken into account when the state calculates schools' campus and district academic accountability ratings.

Morath also said Educational Testing Service, the New Jersey-based firm that administers STAAR testing, has been assessed $100,000 in "liquidated damages."

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