PV: The STAAR should be included in Texas’ education system

Sydney Matak, Staff Reporter

Although the STAAR is controversial, it is reasonable to expect students to score high or low based on the amount of work they do in school, and whether or not they have the right motivation. The STAAR is necessary for Texas’ education system, and it should be set in stone. The STAAR should be included in Texas’ education system.

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) is a standardized test created in Texas for grades K-12, according to www.texasassessment.com. The STAAR test is made to measure what kids are learning in their grade level and to see if they are mentally prepared for the next grade level.

The debate over whether the STAAR test should continue or not is highly controversial. Some educators and parents agree that the STAAR test should continue and that it is beneficial to a child’s learning process. Others disagree and say that the STAAR test should be replaced with a different, more simplified standardized assessment that tests kids using information from their actual grade levels. However, I agree with the STAAR test and think that by testing kids above their grade levels and challenging them can actually make a big difference in Texas’ education system for the better. That can only be achieved through hard work, dedication, and practice.

All students have the potential to succeed during the STAAR test. By testing kids on mental tasks that are more challenging than the ones that they are given on a regular basis, they will exceed the expectations set for their grade level.

In an article written by Rhonda Fanning on www.kut.org, it shows how Christopher Brown, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, says educators and advocates want students to succeed, but that’s different in a climate of limited resources. The “limited resources” being the unnecessary disruptions for kids who aren’t testing in normal classroom activity and the strict policies set in place to prepare for testing.

He quotes, “Kids who aren’t testing have to be quiet in the hallways. They don’t get to have recess during testing time. So I think it’s become an environment where everyone feels like the test is dictating what happens at school, rather than good teaching and learning taking place.” I agree with Brown on how educators want students to succeed, and how we are pushed too far to succeed on the STAAR, and he makes a very good point even though I disagree with him on the main overall idea.

According to www.washingtonpost.com, between 15 to 45 percent of students actually perform above grade level, making the STAAR test reasonable. I am actually a part of the percentage that scores higher than their grade level. I have taken the STAAR for a total of 3 years, and I find that there is no problem with the test, and how it measures a student’s academic readiness. So personally, I don’t have much trouble with the STAAR test itself, and think it should still be set in place.

Even though, my teachers do believe and know that I will do good, the STAAR still gives me anxiety. Completing homework assignments, school projects, and numerous quizzes, have prepared me for the STAAR, and have given me the material that we will see and need on the test. The Texas Assessment Management System also includes STAAR released test questions, tutorials, and practice tests for those who truly want to exceed expectations on the STAAR.

If educators and administrators believe that a student can pass the STAAR, then they probably can. If not, then the teachers need to focus more on the past and current material that they are learning and have learned, and maybe challenge students in harder units above their grade level.

If a student achieves their goals, follows the teacher’s directions, and does all they need to do above the bare minimum, then they can also ace the STAAR, and move onto the next grade level prepared and ready to learn. The STAAR is an necessary evil to all students, and it should continue throughout the state of Texas.