State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness results released June 28 showed an across-the-board decline from spring 2019 to spring 2021 in the number of Richardson ISD students approaching grade level, according to data from the Texas Education Agency and Data Interaction for Texas Student Assessments. Statewide results also showed a decline from spring 2019 to 2021 in the number of students approaching grade level.

Results include exams in math and reading for grades 3-8, writing for grades 4 and 7, science for grades 5 and 8, social studies for grade 8, and high school end-of-course exams in Algebra I, English I, English II, biology and U.S. History, according to a June 28 release from the TEA.

“These numbers are all very accurate in terms of the conclusions one would draw," TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said during a June 28 press conference. "I think far more important for individual families, for every child that we have STAAR results from—that allows educators and parents themselves to build action plans to support those students moving forward in terms of their literacy and numeracy.”

Officials from RISD could not be reached for comment on the STAAR results June 28.

The release stated districts with a higher percent of students learning virtually in 2020-21 saw greater declines in assessment results.

The district's in-person learning population grew to 68% for the final grading period of the school year.

“What we know now with certainty is that the decision in Texas to prioritize in-person instruction was critical," Morath said. "Where we saw very high rates of in-person instruction, we saw almost no reading declines.”

RISD saw the greatest decline in seventh grade math with a more than 50% decline in the number of students approaching grade level from spring 2019 to spring 2021, according to TEA data. On the contrary, the district's smallest decline was in English II, which only dropped 2% in the number of students approaching grade level from spring 2019 to spring 2021.

“This was not a year like any normal year that our students have had to face, that our teachers have had to face," Morath said. "The impact of coronavirus on what school means and what school is has been profound. And unfortunately, the impact that the broader conditions of the coronavirus have had on schools in Texas and what ... will likely be throughout the United States is significant.”

Matt Stephens contributed to this report.