Student faces repeating 8th grade after STAAR re-test cancelled

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) -- Parents of a Leander ISD middle school student are frustrated after receiving a letter letting them know their son may not be able to move onto high school.

Maridith Jones says her son failed a couple classes at the end of his eighth grade school year, but she claims she was assured by school staff that if her son took part in a STAAR Testing Academy along with the STAAR test, and passed, he could be promoted to high school.

According to the letter sent to her by Leander ISD, her son may not be promoted.

An online letter states:

In grades 4-8, promotion to the next grade level shall be based on an overall average of 70 on a scale of 100 based upon course-level, grade-level standards (essential knowledge and skills) for all subject areas and a grade of 70 or above in three of the following areas: language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies."

Jones says because staff advised her that the STAAR Academy would count as summer school to make up for the courses her son failed, as long as he passed the re-test, she thought he would be all right.

"He went ahead and took the STAAR academy, but he can't retake the test and he didn't have the opportunity to take the classes he needed to pass to ninth grade," Jones says.

Now, she's afraid the district has tied her hands and he'll have to repeat a grade on account of STAAR test glitches.

Jones said, "The summer school classes for middle school was held the same time as the STAAR Academy, so he didn't have the opportunity whatsoever to take the classes..."

The district says they do not plan on holding another summer school session for students who didn't take it before.

"LISD has no plans to hold another session of summer school for the students who chose to attend the STAAR Academy instead of Summer School. These situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis when our principals and staff return in July, with the best interest of each student taken into consideration with every decision," the district said.

Parents say it's not fair for their students and hope they can have an input when it comes to changing their child's academic future.

"To find out, you could've gone to summer school and passed, but since you know the STAAR academy was supposed to trump summer school, sorry you're SOL," Jones said. "If he would've failed the two STAAR tests he needed to pass, then that's on him, but this whole process is not on him."

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