A report was published this week about the way in which the state of Texas tests students. If you have kids, then you’ve heard of STAAR. STAAR is the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness. STAAR replaced the previous assessment called TAKS, Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.
The state replaced TAKS with STAAR to increase the rigor for which students were being assessed. STAAR was supposed to be higher rigor with the test focusing mostly on critical thinking skills. The new STAAR test has received much opposition from school districts throughout the years… from 15 high school assessments in order to graduate to the requirement that 3rd, 5th, and 8thgraders pass their tests in order to be promoted to the next grade. These concerns came mostly from educators and from what they felt were unfair expectations.
This week, the argument of the fairness of STAAR brings in actual research. Recent research explained by Texas Monthly shows that STAAR reading levels are well above grade levels. For instance, for a student in 8thgrade to reach the “meets grade level” designation, he/she must read on a Lexile reading level of 10th grade.
What does this mean for students?
As a parent, this infuriates me. I have two sons who were held to these standards that are now being revealed as unfair. I am infuriated because for these years, my state harmed my sons… because at the end of the day, placing unfair expectations on powerless children is doing them harm. The state of Texas must be held accountable for harming our children.
What can we do? We can call, email, and/or write our local politicians. The legislators make the laws concerning education. Change must start with them… and we must speak up for our children.
Paula Patterson is a Superintendent of Schools who shares practical points on leadership.