STAAR test approaches; teachers prepare while some advocate to cancel it

Updated: Mar. 31, 2021 at 10:18 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - After the STAAR test was canceled last year due to the pandemic, educators have been working hard to prepare students for the test this year.

However, some educators are advocating for the test to be canceled yet again.

On top of a year of uncertainty, school staff and faculty have been preparing to administer the STAAR test next week to many students.

“There has been a lot of work and a lot of different strategies used. Our teachers have had to reimagine this entire school year and rethink how everything looks just to make sure our students have the best chance possible,” said Cameron Rosser, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, Canyon ISD.

Educators have put in work preparing students for this years STAAR test.

“We have taken more time with our data this year because we were trying to be more cognizant of our gaps from the COVID gap from last year when we were shut down and kids were at home with no instruction,” said Misty Dawson, reading instructional coach, Rolling Hills Elementary School.

The main concern is the gap in learning that took place last year in the spring when all schooling moved to remote learning.

“On November 7, we brought all of our students back. We really feel like from that point on, we were in a position to do some great things for everyone of our students,” said Rosser.

With returning to face to face instruction this school year, many educators believe the gap in learning is already being closed.

“I do feel like there was a significant gap when they came back, but it really didn’t seem to take a long time for our students to get back in the swing of things,” said Dawson.

That does not mean everyone is for the state test this spring.

“Texas AFT just did not see the value in paying the money that the state was going to have to pay to administer this assessment this year,” said Laura Abernathy, president, Amarillo American Federation of Teachers.

Abernathy says with students having gaps in learning from the spring last year and the state canceling the accountability rates for the test, the union does not see the point of taking the test and spending the money.

“The data that we are going to be getting from the STAAR test, if students aren’t 100 percent whole heartedly taking the test, is going to be skewed data so it’s not going to be accurately driven instruction from that data,” said Abernathy.

Abernathy says the Texas AFT is continuing to advocate for canceling the STAAR test locally.

She says AFT has been trying to cancel the test for sometime but began pushing hard for it to be canceled this year with the pandemic.

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