Carter in the classroom

Top Performing Schools Call For New Accountability Measures Other Than STAAR Test

Superintendents say STAAR is driving teachers away from the profession

NBC Universal, Inc.

 The leaders of some of the best school districts in Texas actually don't like the tests their students are acing.    

Frisco, Plano, and Wylie ISD are just some of the districts asking the state to come up with a better way of labeling schools on how they're performing. 

"I'm not a number, I'm not a score," said Julian Williams, senior at Plano West Senior High School. 

It's no secret that most students or educators dislike the STAAR test.

"It doesn't reflect the work in our classrooms and the soft skills, creativity leadership and problem-solving. It doesn't consider family engagement," said Lauren Kessel, a 7th-grade teacher at Wylie ISD.

Teachers, students, and superintendents met before our cameras asking you to ask your lawmakers to come up with a better way of evaluating schools.

"When you see students stressed physically sick to their stomachs, I don't think anyone ever intended accountability to put that kind of stress on our children and our educators as well," said Theresa Williams, Superintendent, Plano ISD.

The Texas Education Agency said the department has heard the complaints and has worked to make STAAR better. This year, there's less multiple choice, and more writing and charting out answers. Texas teachers will also grade the tests. It's all based on requests from inside the classroom.

"Texas educators are at the heart of the STAAR even before this redesign and their feedback is crucial to us to have appropriate items on the test," said Lily Laux, Deputy Commissioner, of School Programs, Texas Education Agency.

These educators say the STAAR should be just one part of a complex grade and not put so much pressure on teachers.

"We're not afraid to test kids when it's used for the right reasons, we're just asking the legislature to take a look at this because it is one of the reasons, this accountability system is one of the reasons teachers are leaving the profession," said Mike Waldrip, Superintendent, Frisco ISD, a district that aces the STAAR every year.

They want a system more like what the credit bureaus use. Just like how much you owe and if you pay your bills on time matter to your credit score, they think test scores should be one part, and grades another, then leadership skills and growth to measure a school's accountability.

Williams said colleges use more than his class rank and GPA to admit him, Texas should use more tools to grade how schools perform.

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