State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness results for spring 2021 showed Humble ISD students performed better than the state average at nearly every grade level. However, the percentage of students who passed exams was lower in almost every subject in spring 2021 than in spring 2019—the last time STAAR was administered.

Texas officials said the COVID-19 pandemic had significant effects on students, which led to a noticeable decline in STAAR performance. STAAR did not take place in 2020 due to the pandemic, but state average results in 2021 showed a 4% decrease in students reading at or above grade level and a 15% decline in students doing math at or above grade level from 2019.

"This was not a year like any normal year that our students have had to face, that our teachers have had to face," Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said in a June 28 press conference. "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."

HISD Chief Communications Officer Jamie Mount said district officials are continuing to study the 2021 STAAR results as of June 30.

"As we do every summer, we are studying the data," Mount said in an emailed statement to Community Impact Newspaper on June 30. "We understand the limitations of the data because it has been an irregular year."

Statewide STAAR participation was about 87% in 2021 compared to 96% in a normal year, according to Morath. Data from the TEA shows the lowest performance declines were in districts where 76% to 100% of students were learning in the traditional classroom setting as opposed to virtually.

"What we know now with certainty is that the decision in Texas to prioritize in-person instruction was critical," Morath said.

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Danica Lloyd and Matt Stephens contributed to this report.