State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, results for the spring 2021 administration showed Klein ISD students performed better than the state average at 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 tests were administered.

Texas officials said the COVID-19 pandemic had significant effects on students, which led to a noticeable decline in STAAR performance. STAAR testing 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."

Stacy Kindsfather, director of assessment and accountability for KISD, said the district's STAAR results were in line with trends seen across the state due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are grateful for our educators' hard work and commitment as they worked tirelessly through unprecedented challenges to provide the high-quality, innovative teaching and learning that Klein ISD is known for," Kindsfather said in an emailed statement to Community Impact Newspaper on June 29. "Although the impact of COVID-19 on STAAR scores across the state of Texas is disheartening, Klein ISD is already working diligently to support the academic and social-emotional needs of every student in the 2021-22 school year and beyond."

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.