Texas Schools Begin New Exams

As Texas students started taking a new state-mandated test this week, districts across the state have gradually signed on to a resolution that says high-stakes standardized tests are "strangling our public schools."
The emphasis on state testing has become so prominent that high school students could spend up to 45 of the 180 days in an academic year just in standardized testing, Denise Williams, testing director for the Wichita Falls Independent School District, told the Times Record News. Those exams are stacked on top of classroom tests, Advanced Placement exams and college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT. Students in the third through eight grades now spend 27 days out of the year in testing, up from a previous 19 days.
The tests administered this year, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, made their debut Monday as a more rigorous replacement for the previous Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. 
For ninth graders, a student's STAAR score was originally set to count for 15 percent of a final grade. Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott later decided to postpone that rule for a year, and districts have until May 1 to decide whether to use the STAAR to determine a student's passing of a course.

The resolution against high-stakes tests, sent out by the Texas Association of School Administrators, has been adopted by 192 of the 1,000-plus districts across Texas as of March 27.
The statement calls for, among other things, the state Legislature to reexamine the academic accountability system and create a system that "encompasses multiple assessments, reflects greater validity, uses more cost efficient sampling techniques and other external evaluation arrangements, and more accurately reflects what students know, appreciate and can do in terms of the rigorous standards essential to their success, enhances the role of teachers as designers, guides to instruction and leaders, and nurtures the sense of inquiry and love of learning in all students."
Read detail at the original source here.


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