Texas Lawmaker Seeks to Eliminate STAAR Exam
A Texas lawmaker has filed legislation that would end the practice of determining whether students will advance or graduate based upon their performance on standardized tests.
Republican State Representative Brooks Landgraf is the author of House Bill 736, which would eliminate the use of public school assessment instruments such as the STAAR exam as the deciding factor in a student's advancement, as well as their use in making certain accountability decisions.
"The state's attempt to ensure academic readiness and hold school districts accountable for student achievement through standardized state-wide testing has failed," Landgraf wrote in a statement. "In my view, we should value teaching over testing. This bill will allow us to get back to the basics of education so that Texas students are prepared for college, the workforce or the military when they graduate.”
Landgraf believes state-wide assessments place too great a burden upon students and teachers, effectively shackling the latter as they are required to "teach the test" rather than find creative ways to help students learn. He hopes freeing teachers from such burdens would also allow them to dedicate more time to helping specific students in need.
When it comes to how the tests affect students, Landgraf feels they don't reflect the work and progress of learners.
"Rather than looking at the work a student has done over a semester or school year, the test looks at one day," Landgraf writes. "Rather than assessing growth of students with special needs or the level of intelligence of the most gifted and talented students, the test is designed to assess the average student's understanding of basic curriculum. "
What do you think? Do you agree with Landgraf, or do you think standardized testing should be left alone?