By Lauren Towart | Staff Writer

Semester finals bring stress to everyone, but this year’s freshman class have a new worry- STAAR testing. STAAR is rumored to be more difficult than TAKS, bringing forth more studying than ever before an end of course exam, or EOC.

“It’s hard to determine the test’s difficulty, that’s why we’ve been preparing since the first week of school,” English I teacher Peggy Wollard said.

It’s not only the teachers that are feeling the impact of this change in standardized testing. Students are feeling the pressure to be as prepared as well. Although it may be viewed as a major inconvenience to some, others see it as a positive change.

“I’ve been studying more than I ever have for any other standardized test. I still like it better than TAKS; there is a lot more thought involved,” freshman Nathan Vogler said.

A major contributing factor as to why the STAAR exam feels so rigorous to some may be due to the fact that it is the most standardized testing that any student has had to take in such a short time frame.

“There’s a lot more tests- four exams, as opposed to only two with TAKS,” Vice Principal Melvin Echard said.

STAAR is a test that strictly covers only the material taught in that preceding semester; as opposed to the TAKS, which resulted in the same standardized test for every ninth grade student in Texas (disregarding whether or not they took that class the same year or not). For example, Algebra 1 is a required class for all freshman to have taken, but some are enrolled in a sophomore geometry class. Therefore, the students in geometry would be tested over the previous year’s algebra skills.

“I like STAAR because it holds teachers accountable for what they taught, not what or was not taught from previous years,” Echard said.

It is still difficult to determine exactly what the state’s standards may be, making preparing for the test quite a hassle.

“I think the criteria for passing is harder than in the past, but since this is the first year, it is difficult to say what exactly that criteria is,” Echard said.

Throughout all the stress and anticipation the STAAR end of course exams have imposed, there is still confidence in the class of 2015 that the will still perform well.

“I know it’s going to be much harder than TAKS,” English II teacher Peggy Williams said. “But I know our kids will do well- they just need to listen.”

 

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Lauren is a Sophomore at Johnson HS.

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