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Let’s tear the band-aid off and fix the STAAR

The+State+of+Texas+Assessments+of+Academic+Readiness+test.+The+STAAR+test+is+one+example+of+what+many+states+require+for+students+to+pass+in+order+to+move+from+one+grade+to+the+next.+
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Let’s tear the band-aid off and fix the STAAR

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test. The STAAR test is one example of what many states require for students to pass in order to move from one grade to the next.

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test. The STAAR test is one example of what many states require for students to pass in order to move from one grade to the next.

Photo by: Dalton Spruce

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test. The STAAR test is one example of what many states require for students to pass in order to move from one grade to the next.

Photo by: Dalton Spruce

Photo by: Dalton Spruce

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test. The STAAR test is one example of what many states require for students to pass in order to move from one grade to the next.

Jake Brien, Commentary Editor

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The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test. Rolls right off the tongue. The STAAR test is one example of what many states require for students to pass in order to move from one grade to the next. The problem is that actually taking the test is a test of patience in and of itself.

The fact of the matter is that the state of Texas deserves better than the STAAR test. Our state is ranked 43rd when it comes to all the other states in the union, and this test is a perfect example of why. The test is a waste of time, money, and energy from the state of Texas and ends up hurting everyone involved. This is not just an annoying test; this test is a band-aid to a larger problem.

Rather than act like a quota for a passing rate, the STAAR should act as a comparative test so students can feel more motivated and improve. There’s a reason why no private school would ever touch the STAAR. I was homeschooled for a number of years, and ended up taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (or ITBS). It’s a much better test — one that focuses on acting more like an assessment rather than a quota for test takers.

The state of Texas should use a test that compares students’ scores on a state level as well as a national level. My scores were compared to other students in a fashion much like the SAT, and I felt like I was taking a test that actually tested my knowledge of things like reading, writing, and math.

Regardless, the STAAR has a ridiculous price point, and we should use the extra money to improve infrastructure in schools that need the money. Here’s an idea: Texas, maybe you should stop spending $90 million each year administering the STAAR. I recall walking into Pre-AP Biology my freshman year and seeing a quarter of the students missing because their scores were lost and they had to miss part of class to retake it.

This test is a burden on the people who fail. The only thing students care about when taking the STAAR is getting a passing grade. Anything above that grade is bragging rights. Anything below that grade is a burden on those who are held back a grade. The only thing the test does effectively is put immense pressure on schools to have high passing rates. Let’s have a test that encourages more open review courses for students who feel nervous about possibly failing the test. We could have more FIT courses before the STAAR and even a review book from the state of Texas. A $90 million test deserves a readily-available review book for students.

Texas should establish an alliance of states built upon working together to compare and contrast the way they create their tests. The current version of the STAAR is more like a band-aid than a real remedy to address our rank of 43rd when compared to other states, so let’s fix the problem.

This test is not beyond fixing, but it requires each of us to push for legislation on improving it for the future. Let’s spend less time groaning about it and use our vote to make a difference.

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Let’s tear the band-aid off and fix the STAAR