As the school year comes to an end, students are preparing to take more STAAR tests. Stakes are especially high for 5th and 8th graders, who face the possibility of being held back if they don’t pass or take the test.
The Texas Education Agency also “rates” or “grades” schools depending on how well students perform on the STAAR.
Nina Chavez, a mother of two, has a 5th grade son at Elkhart ISD. She says standardized testing puts too much pressure on the students.
“What it does to our children, the pressure that they put on our children to pass the STAAR for the sake of the school, for the grade that the school receives by the state,” said Chavez. “I don't believe it's fair that the schools put the pressure on our kids to pass the test."
Dr. Christy Hanson, the chief academic officer at Tyler I-S-D says the STAAR is just a way for the state to hold schools accountable for teaching the required material.
“A set of standards for every grade level and they want to ensure that the students are learning those, so that’s what the STAAR test does, just asses the curriculum the state gives us,” said Dr. Hanson.
Chavez also tells CBS 19 she’s worried the STAAR limits class curriculums.
"It seems more and more each year, that the school curriculum gets narrowed down to just teaching the test and teaching them how to pass the test,” said Chavez.
Dr. Hanson says that’s not the case. “As long as we're teaching the curriculum and the students are learning the curriculum then we don't have to worry too much about always teaching to the test, the way people perceive that we do," said Dr. Hanson.
Dr. Hanson also tells us schools provide special accommodations for students with learning disabilities. Sometimes that includes smaller class sizes, more time to take the test, or more breaks during the testing period.