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Advocates asking for changes in the STAAR test

A new report is asking Texas lawmakers to de-emphasize the STAAR test and take other things into account when measuring student and school success.

AUSTIN, Texas — A group of advocates is asking Texas lawmakers to not use the STAAR test as the only source of measuring students' and schools' success. 

"At the middle school and elementary school level, the 'A' to 'F' rating is based 100% on STAAR," said Bob Popinski, Raise Your Hand Texas' senior director of policy.

Popinski said the grade a school gets should not rely solely on a standardized test and whether a student passes to the following grade should not be decided by the score on the exam. 

"This does not provide a full picture of individual achievement and growth," Popinski said.

Measure What Matters Assessment and Accountability Council, a nonpartisan group of education leaders and policymakers at Raise Your Hand Texas, released a report after receiving feedback from more than 15,000 parents about the STAAR test. Many believe schools should consider other factors when determining a student's success. 

"Participation in pre-K, access to fine arts, access to do a language, whether or not your kids are on time and on track to graduate from high school on time," Popinski said.

These are all factors that measure what's going on in the classroom and can more accurately tell if a student is engaged, Popinski said.

Raise Your Hand Texas said by not relying solely on the STAAR to measure academic progress, a huge burden could be lifted off students. It will also give teachers more liberties.

"It'll give the gift of time back to our teachers," Popinski said. 

He said the next step is presenting the report in the next legislative session.

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