McLennan County, TX — Results from the state's newly mandated standardized testing have been released; but for local school districts there are still so many unanswered questions. Some of those questions include: What does the test actually look like? And, are students actually going to be required to take so many exams?
Two McLennan County districts are speaking up about their take on the tests.
“We were not excited about the actual numbers, but excited about the path that we’ve chosen to improve,” said Chris Everett, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Waco ISD.
Waco ISD is one of several texas school districts looking for answers about the scores and future of the new STAAR exam. Results were released in early January, andfor this district, scores are not as high as anticipated. Some say it's due to this test being more reading intensive than other tests in the past.
“Even the math test, for instance, you can have computational knowledge and be pretty good at it. But, if you don’t read well, then getting through to understanding, what is the computation that they’re asking, is difficult,” said Everett.
So to better prepare students for success, Waco ISD administrators have been meeting around the clock, making improvements in the curriculum, which is challenging since teachers still haven't even seen the exam.
“STAAR is a more rigorous assessment, so the state continues to up the anty on how hard our students are going to be judged. But, that’s okay too because we’re continually wanting to improve that structural environment so that our kids get the best possible education,” said Everett.
Meanwhile, across town, Midway ISD says they beat state averages, but there is still room for improvement. And, they hope lawmakers will reconsider the amount of tests required to graduate.
“One of the challenging things moving forward is preparing our students, you know, for these tests, but then keeping up with the legislature, knowing that could change at any moment,” said Dr. Brent Merritt, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at Midway ISD.
For now, administrators say they will keep looking to the state to help guide them through making the best decisions for students' education.