Figuring out what went wrong on the STAAR test

Figuring out what went wrong on the STAAR test

NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - They're the first group of students to take the state's new standardized test, and their graduation from high school depends on them passing it.

But this year's freshman class didn't fare so well, which is why educators are now scrambling to help them, while lawmakers are scrambling to make possible changes.

At a public hearing today in Austin, they discussed how much impact the exam has over classroom instruction and what potential changes need to be made to the graduation and testing standards.

AISD School Board President Anette Carlisle says, "We want to create success for the students and create a system that helps create success, but I think we currently have a system that helps create failure."

More than 150, 000 students statewide failed the exam, one-thousand of those in the Amarillo Independent School District, alone.

It was the writing portion of the test that gave Amarillo students the most trouble, something that took AISD educators by surprise.

Stan Chatman explains, "We thought we were on the right track, but after looking at the test results and looking at how our kids fared, we realize we've got to focus on some other things that are vital to the success of our kids on this test."

A success the students will have to find when they take the exam once again, next month.

While AISD educators are working to fill in the gaps for these students, they are also working to find out what went wrong.

Chatman adds, "We're interviewing students and talking to them about areas that gave them difficulties and some anecdotal information we can use."

Some of those things include creating different variations of the exam, changing the passing standards, and providing more specific examples of what will be on the test.

Carlisle says, "The state needs to release the tests to the districts so we can see what the kids missed. If you took a test and you failed it, wouldn't you want to know what you missed so you could learn?"

School districts have kicked things into overdrive with a crash course in STAAR test preparation for the July exam at a special summer session.