State-mandated STAAR Test concerns school officials

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The state's new, mandated STAAR Exam aims to create better students. Lufkin ISD officials worry it could have an opposite effect.

"We have no idea of the impact. It could drastically alter their final grade," said Lufkin ISD Superintendent Roy Knight.

He's convinced the high-stakes exam will raise the drop-out rate. "We'll make drop outs out of kids that 10 years ago would not have been."

Knight wants his schools to focus on expanding a student's knowledge, not spending an entire year studying for a test. STAAR replaces the TAAKS, criticized for being too easy. The new standardized test counts as 15 percent of a student's final grade.

"The implications for STAAR are not just a test. It's focusing on, now, the student's course credit and how many credits they need to graduate. Their GPA, their class rank, which potentially can affect their college," said Shelly Slaton, Assistant Principal of Testing and Curriculum at Lufkin High School.

While school officials say they're nervous about giving a test they've never actually seen themselves, Lufkin ISD says they've altered their curriculum to ensure each child's success.

"We've had to change some of the ways we've questioned students, the way we've shown them the problems," said Lufkin High School Math Instructional Specialist, Charlotte Davis.

The first round of testing begins March 26th with the two-part English I test. Individual and state-wide scores won't arrive until May, along with a better idea of STAAR's success.

"At the end of the day, we want our students to be successful. And so, we're, you know, working very hard to make sure," said Davis.

"We've become convinced that this is the only way to measure the quality of a kid with a high stakes test. And, nothing can be further from the truth," said Knight.

The next three portions of the exam come on May 7th, covering Math, World Geography, and Biology. LISD has spent the last several months informing parents about the changes.

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