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Falling STAAR

Grace Fashanu, A&E editor

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Spring High School just received their school report card for the year 2015-2016. The results for the students who met or exceeded the standard for the STAAR exam is 65% just a little over 50%. Students that met advanced standard is 6%. Spring currently has 3,313, the most students at a high school in the district. Spring High School ranks 1011 out of the 1682 high schools in Texas. This makes Spring High School below the top 50% of high schools in Texas. Spring High school also ranks an F in the Houston area. Comparatively, Spring High’s sister schools, Westfield and Dekaney scored even lower. This would make Spring High the highest performing high school in Spring ISD district.

 

As for the performance index, Student Achievement target is 60, Student Progress target is 17, Closing Performance Gaps target is 30, and Post secondary Readiness target is 60.  The accountability rating system is eventually to become the A-F rating system in which the Texas Education Agency uses to measure which schools met the standard. However this system has come under fire, probably triggered by the low performance in Texas schools as a whole. “DSISD says the system would be unreliable because a large portion of the grade will be based on students’ scores on the STAAR exam.” Since introduced, STAAR has been subject of multiple debates, many people disagreeing with it. Educators and parents alike are highly critical of Texas’ standardized tests.

 

“I do think, however, some of the expectations are a little over ambitious considering the circumstances that we have to deal with,” says principal Diaka Carter,”I am not a fan of A-F because I know that you could be really good in a couple things and maybe not good in something and end up with a C or a D”.

 

Many have expressed their issue with being rated a rated “F” school simply because of the ratings of the STAAR test. One parent even writing a story entitled “What my kids have learned from going to an “F” school“. The concerned guardian detailing his experience when he asked his kids about the school they go to saying, “They have had some of the best teachers I have seen anywhere, and I should know, I have spent the last 22 years of my life in schools of all shapes and sizes.  They have been challenged and they have grown and learned more than I could ever imagine.” adding “It is hard for me to believe that those with very limited knowledge of schools could have the audacity to create a system that they can’t even explain and give grades without providing promised support”.

 

An author whose poem made its way onto the 2014 7th grade STAAR reading exam failed to answer questions about her own poem. Not only does the writer criticize STAAR for using a poem that addresses self-hate on testing day, but for poorly formatted test materials. Replying to a question about her formatting she answered, “I just put that stanza break in there because when I read it aloud (I’m a performance poet), I pause there.” The writer was infuriated and upset “These test questions were just made up, and tragically, incomprehensibly, kids’ futures and the evaluations of their teachers will be based on their ability to guess the so-called correct answer to made up questions.”

 

Not only is STAAR criticized for its unfair and ridiculous testing material, reportedly the state of Texas dished out $500 million to Pearson to administer the test. Many argue that STAAR isn’t the future for standardized testing in Texas. Due to all the backlash it is receiving, there is no telling what will happen to STAAR.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Falling STAAR”

  1. Angela on January 24th, 2017 1:05 am

    I don’t understand why we expect our students to be good at everything, because that’s not even the case in real life. In my prior job in insurance I was a service rep and my major role was to solve problems. I wasn’t good at marketing/sales so we had a sales team for that. Our sales team wasn’t good at writing so we had administrative employees to perform that function. Even our high school teachers generally excel in one subject, so they teach that subject and leave the other subjects to the teachers that excel in those areas. We can’t expect a math teacher to be an effective English teacher, and vice versa. SO I ASK, why do we expect the students to be good at every subject they take when we don’t even expect that of ourselves. Try living life without the help of people of others that excel in areas where you don’t (mechanic, plumber, financial consultant, writer, etc.) and see how successful you are.

    [Reply]

    Grace Olufemi-Fashanu Reply:

    I agree, I think it is unrealistic to expect students to be good in all areas of school. Especially since in the real world, most of the time the careers that we choose only really require one or two of our specialties. As you said, in your work place you all worked as a team. Strengths should be embraced and weaknesses should not be shamed. Sometimes when you fail at one thing in school, it may be discouraging entirely.

    [Reply]

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The Student Voice of Spring High School in Spring, Texas
Falling STAAR