STAAR tests, the importance of

Sophie Enloe, Reporter

STAAR, State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, is required testing for Texas students in grades 3-12. Launched in 2011 at a price of $3 to $7 per student, STAAR costs the state of Texas $90 million annually to administer. Students are concerned about their future and wonder if the money would be spent on more practical things than taking a test.

One student believes that it would be more efficient for kids to get taught skills depending on what careers they want to pursue.

“If STAAR testing wasn’t around anymore I’d say that it’d be good to have a class that focuses on things for long term and built to the skill set of each child based on what they want to go into,” Freshman Chloe Trail said.

Another student reckons that basic life skills such as cooking and sewing would come in handy when you become an adult.

“If the STAAR test wasn’t the main focus, it would have to be food tech and home ec., or A.S.L. (American Sign Language),” Freshman Alyssa Smith said. “Those would help us more than the math we’re learning right now. And we would learn how to be independent and live on our own,”

Trail doesn’t view STAAR testing as a useful asset for students.

“I don’t think that STAAR testing is beneficial in any way because it just measures how well you remember things and how good you can take the test,” Trail said.

To Smith, STAAR testing isn’t an efficient way to test students because it overlooks the fact that not everyone is the same.

“It has the same expectations for every student regardless of what level they are on in regards to learning and possessing information and remembering it all,” Smith said.

Trail stated that STAAR testing doesn’t positively affect her and it puts a lot of pressure on her due to the high stakes.

“Before and after it’s just a stressful time of ‘am I going to do well’ and that can drive a person crazy insane from constantly worrying about it,” Trail said.

Smith presumes that STAAR testing is overwhelming because the information on the test is presented to the students with little time to fully understand what is being taught.

“They put a lot of stress on students throughout the entire year. It’s pretty much ‘what we’re learning all this stuff for.’ And the teachers don’t go over half of the information we need for the tests within a reasonable amount of time,” Smith said.

Trail does not believe that STAAR testing positively impacts students.

“I don’t think that there are any positives, it just ends up in kids being stressed beyond belief,” Trail said.

According to Smith, there are some good things about the tests.

 

“Depending on which test it is, they all have positives to some extent,” Smith said. “Reading you use the information you’re given and using it to answer questions and find the right choice. History is an important part of every state, country, and area. It is important to know the past and learn from it. Science helps you understand more about the natural world around you and learn new things about everyday things around you,”

To Trail, the main purpose of the STAAR tests is to test your ability to complete questions while being stressed out.

“It’s to see how well you do under pressure,” Trail said.

Smith figures that STAAR testing is used to determine how fast students are learning and that it is flawed.

“It is to test the level at which each student is learning. Which is stupid because everyone learns at different speeds and don’t understand stuff as easy as others,” Smith said.

The future is more important than knowing how to take a test to Trail.

“It’s just a test and they should focus more on getting their students prepared for life instead of the one time in their life that they are going to take a test,” Trail said.

Smith stated that the STAAR test shouldn’t be the factor that shows how well students can learn.

“They don’t need to be what learning is revolved around,” Smith said. “If someone doesn’t understand something in class should they still try to learn it after they leave? Your students’ ability to learn and process information won’t be determined by how much you stress a test they don’t want to take,”

In Trail’s eyes schools shouldn’t have to do STAAR testing since the lessons to prepare students for the test are too fast.

“It does nothing except take time away from kids and teachers making things very fast-paced to the point where they don’t really comprehend the subject and are already on something else,” Trail said.

Smith without a doubt believes that schools should stop having STAAR testing because students put so much effort into learning how to take the test but sometimes inevitably fail.

“We can not physically remember everything we’ve learned throughout the year,” Smith said. “And they cannot test us on their standards. It’s stupid and practically unethical. The students work so hard to get there and end up failing because they forgot something,”