STAAR Testing Replaces TAKS

Lindsey Morehart, Staff Writer

This year is the introduction of the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness testing. The STAAR tests are set to replace the TAKS tests and final exams starting with the freshman class.

“The STAAR tests will be much more consistent with what we are doing right now,” Assistant Principal Mr. Sloan said. “It’s based on course, not grade.”

By this, Mr. Sloan means that students won’t be tested on geometry based on the fact that they happen to be a sophomore. Instead, students would be tested on the materials of their current courses; so a student that is farther ahead than the rest of the class won’t have to study materials from years past just to take a standard class level based test. The student would instead be tested on the classes that they are enrolled in. Even though this new system is an advantage to the freshmen, they do have a bone to pick.

“It’s unfair that everything gets changed on freshmen,” freshman Madison Ibrahim said.

And she does have a fair point. The ninth grade class has been the guinea pig of changes in schools all over the nation. In fact, a similar systematic change happened to the current senior class when Vandegrift was built and the freshman (now seniors) were elected to be transferred from Cedar Park High School and into the first graduating class of Vandegrift.

“Typically, they use the freshman class because the transition is smoother for them than any other class level,” math teacher Mrs. Fisher said. But freshmen have a different view of the changes being made in standardized testing.

“I think the whole school should make the change together,” freshman Lindsey Thompson said.

Though this change in schedule seems to only affect the freshmen testing, it also affects their exemptions. The freshmen will not be able to use any exemptions on their core classes because those will be the classes that the STAAR exams. They will, however, be able to receive up to four exemptions, through the standard system of grades and attendance, to use only on elective courses.

“I think we should at least get one or two exemptions for core classes,” freshman Sydney Sanders said.

Having a couple exemptions available to use on core classes would indeed make the STAAR testing an even smoother transition. But the administration doesn’t agree.

“I’m all for it,” Attendance Clerk Mrs. Sanders said. “They should have to take core class exams and only exempt electives.”

Mr. Sloan agrees completely.

“In my opinion, the STAAR exam is a great idea because it consolidates the final and state assessments into one test, and students are being tested on the actual curriculum that they are taking,” Sloan said.

All in all, there are going to be disagreements between students and administration, no matter what, when it comes to changes in the system. But compared to fiascos like the transition of ninth graders into a new school, this STAAR testing change is a piece of cake for the freshmen. And as intelligent as our freshmen are, it’s fair to say that Vandegrift has confidence in them and their ability to ace the new STAAR tests.