Different thoughts and fears regarding the STAAR Test is normal
By Morgan Grieve
6th Grade student at LCISD’s Wertheimer MS
The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) is a test given to students in grades 3-8 and to students taking high school level courses. The STAAR test includes reading and mathematics for grades 3-8, writing for grades 4 and 7, science for grades 5 and 8, and social studies for 8th grade students. All of these assessments have been designed to focus on “readiness” standards. Wertheimer students will be taking the Math and Reading assessments on April 22-23.
I had the opportunity to speak with three Wertheimer students about how they feel about taking the STAAR test. Classmate, Sebastian Penso said “I feel I will do well, because the teachers are making us work very hard.” Another student, Kayla Sukhu told me that she feels confident with math, but not quite as confident taking the Reading portion of the STAAR test. On the contrary, Kara Johnson stated that she felt very confident about both areas of the test and felt certain that it would be easy for her.
Those same three students were asked what they fear the most when taking STAAR and it was clear to me that despite their confidence, they were still experiencing some test anxiety.
Sebastian admitted, “I’m scared that I will not know what the question is asking, and then I get the question wrong.” Kayla mentioned her fear of not showing her strategies, while Kara confided that she worries that she will fail to receive a “commended” score. Despite the testing jitters, my classmates agreed that overall they felt prepared. They also agreed that it was important for them to gain these “readiness” skills to be successful in 7th grade and beyond.
Everybody prepares for a test in a different way, so I was interested in the different methods my classmates are using in order to ready themselves for the upcoming test. The one thing that they all agreed to doing was making an extra effort to study their schoolwork. Kara also mentioned that exercise helps her to stay mentally sharp and admits to running in the mornings.
I also was interested to get teacher’s perspective on STAAR, and had the opportunity to speak to Leanne Wells, English Language Arts teacher at Wertheimer. When I asked her how she feels about the STAAR test she confessed, “I hate how it gives some students anxiety, but I know the STAAR test will help develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. These skills are so important in today’s society!”
I also inquired about how she prepared herself and her students for STAAR. She explained, “I always tell my students that they are capable of anything. If you try your best, listen in class and apply your strategies, you will be successful! As for myself, I work with a great team of teachers who collaborate to provide lessons and strategies to meet all students’ needs. Its hard work, but well worth it! (That’s problem solving skills at work!)” I also asked her in what way she felt that the STAAR prepares the students for the 7th grade. She told me, “Having taught at Briscoe for many years, I have a good relationship with the faculty there. I know the skills we teach here at Wertheimer will give them a great start to 7th grade. I am always bragging to them about what great kids they have coming next year.”
Everyone has their own thoughts and fears about the STAAR test. You have to always use your time in class wisely because it goes very quickly! It feels like one day you’re beginning a new school year, and then suddenly eight months have gone by and it is time to take the STAAR test. But if students give 100% effort, show their work and study, they will be successful! I believe that the Hawks are ready to bring their very best!
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