Falling STAAR: Part 6

Print Friendly

Is the STAAR Test Hurting Children? YES!

Child Taking the STAAR TestTexas Elementary School Administrators threaten students with the possibility of failing if they do not pass the reading and math STAAR tests.

Following is a note from a parent whose child has failed the STAAR 2014 reading test. I receive comparable notes from other parents. Since I know that the 2013 5th Science STAAR has many errors, is the STAAR reading test a valid assessment of a student’s ability to read? Something is wrong with our Texas education system when one test is being used to fail elementary students. It doesn’t matter if children make As all year–fail that STAAR reading and you fail.

WHY SEND CHILDREN TO PUBLIC SCHOOL ALL YEAR IF ONE TEST DETERMINES IF THEY PASS OR FAIL?

COMMENT FROM A PARENT

I JUST RECIEVED WORD THAT MY A-HONORAL SON HAS FAILED THE READING PORTION AND IT BREAKS MY HEART CAUSE HE HAS BEEN STRESSING ABOUT THISFOR MONTHS. I HAVE TO BREAK IT TO HIM TONIGHT THAT HE WILL BE GOING ON TO THE NEXT GRADE BUT WILL HAVE TO TUTORIALS STARTING THIS SUMMER. NO CHILD SHOULD FEEL STRESSED OR HAVE THIS KIND OF HEAVY BURDEN, ITS NOT HEALTHY AND ITS AFFECTING HIS/HER CONFINDENCE AND SELF ESTEEM. THEY SHOULD STOP THIS STAR TESTING BEFORE MORE AND MORE CHILDREN WILL EITHER QUIT SCHOOL OR COMMITT SUICIDE OVER THIS.

Ann Work, reporter for TimesRecordNew.com, has written a series of seven reports about STAAR. Ann describes the conditions that students take the STAAR. But, it is worse than Ann is led to believe. Children in elementary school start worrying about the STAAR as soon as school starts. This is because in most Texas schools the STAAR test is the focus for the entire school year. Teachers do little more than prepare kids for STAAR Tests, but they are really just making wild guesses about what might be on the tests. Preparing for the STAAR is one big guessing game. With no textbooks in many Texas classrooms, teachers have the state standards called TEKS, which like any set of standards is a list of the minimum topics to be covered during the school year. For example, in 5th grade science, students are to learn the uses for different types of energy, including light energy. WOW! This could be an entire school year of study, but there are only a few days scheduled for this TEKS.  Pearson and TEA picked solar cells for the use of light energy. It was a random selection out of many possibilities. The only clue that teachers had was to teach uses of light.  As I said, preparing for the STAAR is just a guessing game. Guessing the uses of light as well as guessing about the specifics for all the TEKS. But the worst part is that you cannot depend on the STAAR tests being correct in content. Also, the reading levels of the tests are not always at grade level.  Is the 2014 STAAR reading test at grade level?
Falling STAAR Broken Pencil

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the sixth report of a seven-day series on the STAAR Test.

On the day a STAAR test is administered, schools all over the state go into lockdown.

Parents aren’t allowed in the building. No visitors — period. No bringing your child lunch. Walls are papered over to cover anything that might give clues to STAAR answers.

Students meticulously break the seal on their test booklet and are cued when to begin. They hunker over their tests for up to four hours. Their teachers — who have never seen the test and aren’t allowed to look at it — keep children on task without answering any questions.

Hall monitors escort one child at a time to the bathroom. Students in a grade level that is not testing sit quietly in a study hall or watch movies. The formidable aura of testing pervades the building.

“Testing day is unhealthy,” said veteran teacher Mary Bowen. “Just talking about it gives me a feeling in the pit of my stomach. This is the United States of America. Kids don’t lose their civil rights when they walk into a school building.”

Bowen is one of the rare teachers who has now taught through all four versions of the state test — TABS, TAAS, TAKS and now STAAR.

She was there when state testing began in 1980 as a way to weed out poor teachers. That was 34 years ago.

“Our schools should be a glorious makeover of all these wonderful teachers,” Bowen said. “Here’s what it’s actually done. It’s driven the good teachers out…because why would someone who believes in what education can be want to be part of merely the dry factorization of schools?”

For more see —An In-depth Look at the STAAR TEST

Share Button

Trackbacks

  1. […] Find out what teachers think about the STAAR/EOC tests in Ann’s Part 4 STAAR/EOC Expose. […]