After a seemingly long time of classes, homework, drama, plus many other obstacles presented through the school year, it is slowly but surely coming to a close with summer peaking around the corner. With almost three full months of relaxation, sleeping in, and all the other plans that may be in store for the summer, it wouldn’t be surprising that anyone would be excited.
However, there is one thing that is standing in between now and the glorious summer break. It something so powerful and feared throughout the state of Texas – the ever renowned STAAR tests.
On March 28th and 29th, two STAAR tests, 8th grade reading and mathematics, were conducted at Dobie. The days leading up to this test, students and teachers alike were all preparing for it. “All teachers and staff have to go to training so that they can administer the test correctly,” said Nancy Preyor-Johnson, journalism and yearbook teacher. “Basically, teachers are not allowed to read tests, cheat, or help students with any questions.”
“I think it’s just another test,” said Alia Simpson, 7th grader. “I don’t usually prepare for them but I go along with what’s in class. Usually, a couple days or a week before the STAAR test, we review. When it gets closer, our teachers repeat things like, ‘Remember, this is going to be on the test.’”
Simpson said that she finishes usually within the first hour and a half of the given four hours. “If I feel tired enough, I’ll fall asleep or if I have enough energy, I’ll read. It’s super quiet and everyone’s focused, but I do think that they should shorten the time a little bit.”
Many teachers, even outside of Dobie, have very mixed feelings about the STAAR test. “I think the STAAR tests is an important gauge on how well a student is learning. However, I think that some schools put too much focus on it,” said Preyor-Johnson. “I’ve worked for another school district where they always did benchmarks and always had the students testing.”
One thing that most students seem to forget, is that teachers, as well as many other adults, have taken standardized tests such as the STAAR test to get to where they are today. Preyor-Johnson recalls the time she took the STAAR test; stating that she remembers feeling nervous and anxious about it and therefore, relates to the students. “I try to remind students that we’ve taken it and that later on, there’s still going to be tests that you have to take for when you apply for jobs. I just want students to do their best.”