STAAR Testing Problematic


Riley Sims, Reporter

If you have attended a school in Texas, you know what the STAAR test is. The STAAR test has been given to students since spring of 2012, when it replaced the TAKS test. The test is supposed to be a way to show a student’s progress, but many argue that it is actually a tool to determine if  students can move on to the next grade and, later on, graduate.

“I think it’s OK for students to be tested,” English teacher Katina Jones said. “I don’t think they should be tested in that manner. I think the STAAR test is OK in some regards, but I don’t think it’s OK the way that they use the scores for graduation.”

The STAAR graders have shown issues with grading the test. Many years, they have been late in giving back the results or have made errors in calculating them.

“Their processing time is very inefficient and very unprofessional,” sophomore Leila Atumah said.

A lot of parents and students argue that the teachers teach up until the test, or don’t prepare them for it at all. Some parents have become so angry about the state test that they are pulling their students out of school and enrolling them in private schools. Private school students don’t have to take the STAAR test, because they are exempt from it by the state.

If these problems weren’t enough, the state is charging STAAR an estimated penalty of $1.4 million for errors on test materials and computer glitches. The result of these problems has led to fifth and eighth graders having their tests thrown out. A statewide test should not have this many errors in grading.

“If they messed it up, then they need to be able to fix it and not charge somebody else to fix their mistakes,” math teacher Joel Blakley said.

Despite the problem, the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability met in July in Austin and decided not to replace the current STAAR test.

“It’s unfair how they mess up the test scores and the [committee members] still trust them,” sophomore Melissa Sanchez said.

The test has caused many problems throughout the years that have made people question its validity and reliability. Year after year, the STAAR test continues to make mistakes and yet it always ends up with little to no punishment. We continue to depend on this test. Why should students have to take a test that always messes up test results and contains errors? It’s time for Texas to wake up and realize that we are better off without this test. The question we need to ask ourselves is: should we leave it up to an unreliable test to determine a student’s true knowledge on a subject?