Even with new STAAR, are schools just ‘teaching to the test’?
Lufkin, TX — As independent school districts learn more about the new standardized test, many beg the question of whether educators are just “teaching to the test.”
The STAAR test will be implemented this year, replacing the former TAKS test.
According to the Texas Education Agency, Texas public schools will spend 34 out of 185 days conducting the state-mandated test in the new school year. That’s an average of four days per student, an increase from the previous TAKS test system.
TEA states in the Frequently Asked Questions section on its website that “the total number of test items for the STAAR assessments has been increased for most grades, subjects, and courses.” The agency also says the most significant changes to the assessment program include an increasing rigor of both assessments and performance standards. Skills will be assessed at a greater depth and level of cognitive complexity, as well.
State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff represents the Angelina County area and thinks schools must now focus too much on teaching the test, rather than educating for life.
“The Texas Legislature doesn’t truly believe in the term ‘Independent’ School District,” Ratliff wrote in an opinion piece. “The Texas Legislature apparently believes that if the state doesn’t test the kids, nobody will. I couldn’t disagree more. I believe in our local schools and trust them to do what’s best for their students. We don’t need more mandates or rules from Austin or Washington. We need less.”
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