Posted on 03. Jul, 2012 by Brandon Evans
New high schoolers beware. Parents pay close attention. The STAARS are falling on Texas.
I wrote a story yesterday for the midweek paper about how school districts across the county performed in the inaugural STAAR end-of-course exams. Five tests were given to freshmen. They have to take 10 more over the following two years. The big deal isn’t that these are tougher than TAKS. The tests always get more difficult. The difference is that high schoolers, starting with last year’s freshmen, must pass up to 15 of these tests before they can graduate.
With TAKS, students just had to pass their exit exams their junior year. If they fail, they have a year to prepare and pass.
But with STAARS, students must pass many tests over several years. It’s gonna be easy for some students to start slipping way behind. It’s up to the students themselves to get back in the game and retake the test or tests they fail.
Schools can stress the importance of passing. Boyd,for instance, starting offering program immediately this summer for freshmen who failed one or more sections in the spring. However, only a handful of those who needed to show up have done so. Ultimately it’s up to individual students and their parents to make sure they are taking care of the tests they fail. If they don’t, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine a high school senior, who happens to be a bad tester who failed a couple of these per year, suddenly having to face a pass a gauntlet of test before they earn their diploma. This could lead to a spike int the dropout rate four years from now.
Alvord superintendent Bill Branum told me last week, “This was a whole new game.” He’s right, and parents and students better stay on top of their game, or else fall into testing oblivion.