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Attendance decent in Abilene ISD even after state waives testing

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About 70 percent of the 400+ Abilene ISD 5 th - and 8 th -grade students – who are currently enrolled in summer school after failing state tests twice this year – showed up for class Tuesday.

The decent attendance numbers come a day after district officials announced the classes would continue, even though the state is no longer requiring this batch of students – after taking summer school – to pass state-mandated tests to advance to the next grade level.

Summer school classes for these students end next week.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath recently decided to waive the consequences for this year's crop of summer school students because of technical problems with the tests they took and ongoing reporting issues with the state's test vendor.

In March, a computer glitch resulted in students losing answers. More than 14,000 exams were impacted.

Morath is leaving it up to Texas public school districts to decide whether the students are promoted to the next grade or held back.

Abilene ISD is providing summer school classes for 5 th graders at Martinez Elementary School and for 8 th graders at Mann Middle School.

According to Abilene ISD spokesman Phil Ashby:

*- 124 (or 71 percent) of 175 of the registered middle school students attended Tuesday

*- 158 (or 69 percent) of 230 of the registered elementary school students attended Tuesday

*- In all, 282 (or 70 percent) of 405 registered elementary and middle school students attended Tuesday

And the district is continuing to encourage students to come to class.

"Both campuses are following up with phone calls to assure parents are aware that classes are still in session," Abilene ISD spokesman Phil Ashby said Tuesday.

New Jersey-based Educational Testing Services is administering the exam after winning a $280 million contract.

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