STARR rules change way too often, students frustrations growing

Zeta Handy , Staff Writer

Just the name STAAR can evoke fear in the hearts of students who struggle to pass tests period not to mention one which can prevent them

from graduating unless they pass it. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness consists of 22 different exams students take over their academic career. It’s the primary driver of the state’s educational priorities because of the consequences for students and schools when students don’t pass.

Standardized tests like STAAR weren’t always as important or strict as they are now. The push toward high-stakes tests in Texas began in the 1980s, when the state started to evaluate student performance with an exam to see what students learned and retained. They discovered the kids weren’t meeting basic standards and that the teachers were just passing them on to get them out of their classes.

In 2003, the state changed the name again to TAKS, which continued the high-stakes for students but increased the number of tests that students had to pass at different grade levels.

According to Theresa Treviño, who is the president of Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment (TAMSA), Texas is one of only 14 states that require high-stakes tests for graduation.

Some believe that testing companies are the primary beneficiary of testing. Over the years, some lawmakers have been trying to reduce the number of STAAR tests students have to take. The TAMSA group pushed a bill in the last legislative session that would have reduced the number of STAAR exams to 17. The bill failed, but critics of the STAAR have said that it would have saved

the state $1.8 million in the next two years. The bill would have also allowed school districts to have used another exam besides STAAR to evaluate student academic progress.

STAAR has always been an issue for me. I had to retest test again for English 1. I’ve had to take that stupid test for the 8th time and the English 2 STAAR for the 5th time.

The problem is I have a hard time passing them. I come very close and yet so far no matter how much time I put into learning new strategies to take on the STAAR, it doesn’t help. Every time I go in to take the test, the proctors say “This is the last time you have to take it.” They tell us “be positive.” How can we stay positive after retesting and taking the STAAR so many times just so I can graduate.

TAMSA believes it is time to eliminate high-stakes performance requirements for grade promotion and high school graduation, and I agree. Denying students a diploma based on a single test is wrong when students have met all other graduation requirements.

The only thing the STAAR test does well is stress out students who are trying their hardest to graduate, but just don’t do well on standardized tests. It’s unnecessary that the STAAR test could prevent me from graduating, and it’s not fair that the state has the “high-stakes” for high schoolers.

Then have so many restrictions before, during and after the test. I can understand not talking but no one wants to talk about the STAAR. While they’re taking it it’s frustrating as it is and they think were going to talk about it during lunch. at’s not likely. But no, we yawn during lunch and they automatically think were talking. These restriction are so bad they need to change. Not it a drastic way. But enough where we can at least read a book