Carter in the classroom

School Helps Students Tackle STAAR Test Stress

NBCUniversal, Inc.

 School children across Texas have started their STAAR tests.

The end of the year assessments always matter, but after the pandemic, the pressure is on for schools to show they've worked to help stop the learning losses. 

That pressure isn't just on teachers but on students too.    

Third-grader Audrey Perez was called up and given not one but two awards for her hard work.

She's top of the class but Audrey will tell you it wasn't her best day. 

"Our STAAR test is coming up on Tuesday, it's math and I'm feeling really extremely nervous," she said.

It happens in school almost every year, students under pressure, told how important the STAAR test is, and sometimes they just can't handle it. 

"Taking that practice test, the third one we had a lot of people with upset stomachs, throwing up, and I said, 'Admin let's do something,'" said Olivia Rutledge, school counseling specialist.

At Uplift Gradus in DeSoto, they tried everything to turn the tide, even sumo wrestlers. Teachers dressed up in inflatable suits and had a Scholar vs. STAAR match, which the scholar won. It was designed to help remind students, it's just a test.

From seeing their peers do quick math drills and get awards for reading one million words, it all has a message of support.

Audrey says it all helps, and so does a little advice from her mom.

"She told me to take a deep breath, pray to God, and tell myself I can do it," she said.

Counselors tell NBC 5 it's good advice for all parents to check in on their kids, even those who make good grades to make sure they're talking about the pressure they feel.   

Parents should have those conversations and let school leaders know so they can help as well. 

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