STAAR Vs. TAKS
The STAAR test is the original replacement for the TAKS test. Chron.com had this to say about the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills):
Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, students in the graduating class of 2015 will take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), which will be “significantly more rigorous than previous tests,” according to a Texas Education Agency press release.
The TAKS test came under scrutiny from the TEA as being too easy so they decided to replace the test with the more up-to-date assessment: STAAR.
The STAAR Isn’t Accurate
Many teachers have cited that the STAAR exam isn’t actually accurate to the grade level being test. Reading passages alone have been assessed to be 2-3 years ahead of the grade level being administered. While the TEA is under pressure to produce results to prepare the next generation of workers for success, the STAAR isn’t offering an accurate or fair assessment for student readiness.
Another reason why the STAAR test isn’t deemed accurate is because it’s a “one-and-done” assessment. The test does not account for students who have poor test taking skills, or excel in other areas outside of the test. It also does not factor in outside influences that affect student performance. A student’s home life, mental state, and physical state all contribute to the performance of a student.
The STAAR exam presents other downsides both inside and outside of the classroom. One critique teachers have is that it encourages teaching to the test. This is bad as teachers have less flexibility in teaching lessons and concepts outside of those that would strictly help students on the test. This is bad because as stated before, the exam doesn’t cover every aspect of a student’s knowledge. It encourages these “gaps” that would later harm a student’s academic habits and knowledge later in life.
Another large downside is the fact that it has no impact or indication of a student’s future. Universities and employers alike won’t ask to see your STAAR scores so they hold no real importance for a student’s long term academic or professional career.
The Future For STAAR
The future for the STAAR test is unclear. The TEA is always making changes with each new addition so the test will most likely evolve over the next decade. However, one thing to note is that the pressure for taking standardized tests is easing as time goes on. Many colleges are even going “test-optional” which means student’s do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores during the application process. While I cannot guarantee the future of standardized tests, I do believe it will continue to change and evolve (hopefully for the better).