STAAR test too high-stakes


High school students are required to take English I, English II, Algebra I, Biology, and U.S. History STAAR tests in order to graduate.

Isabel Holder, Reporter

Multiple times a year, students sit in cold, quiet classrooms and take a four to five hour long test without speaking or getting a break unless it is time for lunch. Because of this, they sleep, draw on tables, and eat instead of doing the one thing they are in there for: the STAAR test. It was created in 2010 to replace the TAKS test that was repealed in 2007. High school students must pass their STAAR tests in order to graduate.

Instead of STAAR, the Texas legislature should require a test that isn’t so high-risk if a student fails.

STAAR is made to determine how well students learned in the school year. Some students cannot focus on taking such a high-stakes test if they are crammed in a classroom for five hours. Usually, school officials try to make the classrooms colder during tests to keep students focused and to stop them from going to sleep so they will do their best on the test. But students still sleep and it distracts the ones that aren’t.  Maybe the student’s teachers didn’t do very well at teaching them. Maybe they just couldn’t focus being crammed in a cold room most of the day. While a lot of circumstances for failing could easily be the student’s fault, it could just as easily be the way students are made to take the test too.

Students are taught skills all year to help them pass the STAAR test instead of learning information that will benefit them later in life. Students learn skills that they will only use for the STAAR test. For example: students learn how to write an essay which has to fit into 26 lines and follow a certain format. Most English teachers agree that STAAR writing is not actual writing.  The STAAR test should be testing students on valuable things they should know, not how well they followed the STAAR format. That way, teachers will teach students things that will benefit them in life and still pass the STAAR test.

The legislature should replace the STAAR test with a test that doesn’t have such a dire consequence for failing. Making a test that determines if a student graduates or not can be way too stressful on students and possibly lower their score. Making a test that still evaluates how well a student learned without having the risk of failing to graduate, would be better.