Be A STAAR!

Ava S.

From 2007-2011, students took the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skill (TAKS) , but now, students will be taking a more difficult test – The STAAR Test. The State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) has replaced the TAKS Test, beginning in the 2011-2012 school year. In 2012, students took the STAAR Test, but only so the State could see how the students would do with a new test. This year, 2013, students will be taking the test for real! Read on for more details.

The STAAR Test is quite different from the TAKS Test. Firstly, the STAAR Test is more difficult. Bethany Lockett (8) says, “ I don’t like it because all the teachers do is teach for the test. They say things like, ‘On the STAAR, it looks like this…’ I wish they would teach me skills I could use in real life.” The teachers work hard so every student has a chance to succeed on the STAAR, but they also teach you skills you will need for college. But because the STAAR Test is harder, they focus more on what you will need to pass this test. If you don’t pass, then you will not be allowed to move to the next grade level. Teachers everywhere are doing reviews so their students will be prepared for their testing.

Secondly, the STAAR Test is timed. Students will have a four hour time limit to complete the test. Glynn Burns (7) says, “I think it puts a little more pressure on us, knowing that we don’t have all day to complete a hard test that we really haven’t taken before.” In previous years, students would have all day to complete the TAKS Test, but now, students are required to finish their test within four hours. Anything you don’t complete after that time will be counted wrong.

Thirdly, students will be introduced to new ways to answer questions on the test. On the Reading test, students will be required to answer at least one question as a Short Answer Response (SAR). On the Science and Math test, students will be required to fill out a griddable.

Lastly, students in grades 9-11 will be taking the STAAR in addition to 3-8 graders. This is much different from the TAKS because only students in 3-8 grade took it. Now, 9-11 graders will be required to take the STAAR Test in the form of an End Of Course Exam (EOC).

Overall, the STAAR test is new, and quite different from the older tests. It also challenges the students with a higher level of thinking. But that does not mean students will do poorly. Teachers, parents, siblings, and peers have total faith in all those taking the STAAR Test. Please join me in wishing these students Good Luck on the day of their tests, and always encouraging them to do their best!