STAAR Test Passing Standards Get More Difficult

The Texas Education Agency announced Tuesday afternoon that beginning this year, the annual STAAR test will get harder.

Students will have to get more questions right in order to pass. The passing score for the mandatory public school test will continue to go up incrementally every year for the next seven years.

State education leaders say it's a way of measuring student and school achievement; but, some Dallas parents are furious.

At Robert E. Lee Elementary School in North Dallas, parents said the TEA's guaranteed more sleepless nights for their kids.

"Every year you see the teachers and students alike stressing out when March comes around. It's crazy," said Martin Reveles, who is the father of a 4th grader.

"You can tell they're stressed. They struggle to sleep at night and in the morning they dread getting up," he said. "And now the requirements are tougher?"

The Texas Education Agency explained why it's making the change.

The TEA points out these "Phase-in 2 Standards" were originally scheduled to take effect two years ago. But Commissioner Williams delayed that move to allow educators more time o adjust to the more rigorous curriculum.

"It's just too much stress on kids at this age now," said Rosalinda Rodriguez, mother of a 4th grade student.

These small changes to the STAAR's passing score will continue for the next seven years, through the 20-21 20-22 school year.

The American Federation of Teachers in Dallas disagrees with weight given to STAAR testing.

"There is a tremendous amount of pressure to teach only to the test," said David Lee. "Particularly in Dallas with the new teacher evaluation system, where teachers are largely evaluated on student achievement.

"We really don’t even know at this point that the STAAR test still a reliable and valid measure of student achievement," he added.

Many Robert E. Lee parents say come test time, they'll tell their sons and daughters the same message that they did last year:

"Just focus, and concentrate," Rodriguez said. "And remember, everything will be okay."

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