SAN ANTONIO — No more STAAR exams.
That’s what one Texas lawmaker is proposing in his bill to eliminate high-stakes testing.
For years, STAAR Testing has been the primary indicator of student success, playing a pivotal role in deciding whether kids are promoted to the next grade or able to graduate from high school.
But House Bill 736 calls for the end to the test in Texas. Rep. Brooks Landgraf from Odessa filed the bill last week, saying he wants to eliminate the tests being “used as high-stakes, one-size-fits-all substitutes for real accountability measures.”
San Antonio ISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez said he agrees that Texas is over-testing its students, but believes there has to be some accountability.
“The only thing I would ask is let's not compromise our accountability system, because it's going to allow us to get stronger academically and more of our children to have better opportunities,” said Martinez.
Texas kids in grades 3 through 8 are required to pass the tests in order to be promoted to the next grade level. However, a committee can later decide based on certain criteria to promote the student.
The same goes for high school. The bill would eliminate testing as a requirement for graduation. High school students are currently required to pass five tests before they can walk across the stage at the end of senior year.
Martinez said testing during freshman and sophomore years are appropriate, but when students reach their last two years of high school, all the testing can be overwhelming.
“For me, when kids are students are juniors and seniors I want them to think about college,” the administrator said.
Tom Cummins from the Bexar County Federation of teachers said getting rid of the testing would not only lessen the children’s anxiety, but also alleviate a lot of stress placed upon classroom teachers.
“The test has been used in many schools as a discipline procedure on teachers. The test does not measure what the teacher has done. It only measures what the student has done on that particular test,” he said.
Landgraf said the main goal of the bill is to value “teaching over testing.”
“This bill will allow us to get back to the basics of education," he said. "So that Texas students are prepared for college, the workforce or the military when they graduate."