A Microsoft Word version of this letter is available for download and PRINTING.
February 26, 2009
Subject: Breaks and Approved Student Activities during State-Mandated Testing
To the Administrator Addressed:
This correspondence is to address concerns that have been expressed by teachers participating in the state-mandated testing program. The commissioner has had concerns voiced to him that TEA does not allow students to take bathroom breaks during testing and does not permit students to engage in activities once they have finished their assessments.
TEA permits bathroom breaks for students. This information is available to all personnel who participate in testing and can be found on page 64 of the 2009 General Test Administrator Manual:
After students have completed their assessment, they are permitted to read a book or be dismissed from the testing location. This information can be found in the same general manual on page 60:
TEA has no stipulations concerning classroom activities once all students have completed their assessments and the test administrator has collected and secured all test materials in locked storage.
The information regarding breaks and activities after testing can also be found in the 2009 District and Campus Coordinator Manual, which should be issued to every campus testing coordinator in the district. Campus coordinators conduct the required training sessions for the test administrators and are expected to cover these topics during that training. The language in the coordinator manual that addresses these topics is very similar or identical to that in the general manual:
Each test administrator is required to attend an annual general training session on test administration procedures, as well as additional training specific to the type of test that is being administered. It is required that the general manual be provided to all designated test administrators prior to the annual training, and personnel are directed on page 12 of the manual to read it thoroughly, make notes of any questions they may have, and bring it to the training session. Additionally, each campus coordinator, who is trained by the district coordinator, should have a copy of and be familiar with the general test administrator manual and the coordinator manual.
All campus coordinators and test administrators must sign oaths certifying that they have received this training and that they understand their responsibilities concerning the testing program. Further, test administrators must also sign a separate, administration-specific oath after they have undergone the additional training for the specific test, grade level, and subject-area assessment they will be administering. A test administrator’s signature on this oath affirms that he or she has received this additional training and has read the test administrator manual(s) governing the administration.
To summarize, TEA permits but does not require bathroom breaks and stipulates that until all examinees in a testing room are finished, completed testers may read or be dismissed. District and campuses may establish local, detailed procedures addressing both of these topics.
Assessment Contact Information