Thousands of students across the state are getting ready to take the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, but the need for the state-mandated test and how accurately it measures what students have learned continues to be debated by state lawmakers, parents and educators.
Alto Middle School teacher, Vicki Russell, said, "All the TAKS test does is lower student morale, lower students' perceptions of themselves and you don't want that. You want them to feel good about themselves, enjoy coming to school and not worry about one test that decides their entire future - that's ridiculous."
Alto High School English teacher, Doug Chumley, has been teaching for less than a year, but already sees problems with the TAKS. He spends so much time preparing his kids for the writing portion of the test, he doesn't have much time to focus on anything else. He would rather his students take one test at the end of each school year for each subject they take.
Chumley said, "End of Course testing would be designed [and] administered by people who teach the kids all year long and know what their needs are, and there're other ways to have accountability other than the TAKS test."
Chumley believes there are disadvantages to E.O.C. exams. They are not state mandated so it could be difficult to compare students' performance with kids across the state, but many teachers believe the pros of End of Course tests outweigh the cons.
"The End of Course exam, what they're going to do is, if you score very high in one area, it kind of levels out the one you didn't do as well in."