Harlingen mother expresses alarm over STAAR test

A Harlingen mother is expressing alarm about new, more-rigorous standardized testing for Texas school children

She's struggled to get those A's and B's that she's attained, says Stephanie Mesquias. I'm afraid when this test rolls around, and it's so heavily weighted, what's going to happen to her overall grade?

The new test impacting schools in the lone star state is called STAAR.

It stands for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.

The test is replacing the previous TAKS test starting this year.

Stephanie Mesquias' 14-year-old daughter, who is a freshman, will have to take the STAAR test this spring.

She believes the first students to take this exam will have an unfair disadvantage.

If a student is borderline, barely passing and that 15% is factored in, it hurts them, says Mesquias.

But the state has not released any tests and Mesquias says that's fundamentally unfair for students

Starr tracks student performance in English, Math, and Science from third through eighth grade and it will serve as end of semester exams for high school students as well.

"There is increased rigor, says Harlingen Assistant Superintendent, Michelle Everett. They have built in college and career readiness standards all the way down into the elementary schools.

Everett says this new test focuses on the curriculum currently taught in the classroom, unlike the TAKS test, which was a revision of material taught previous years forcing teachers to spend valuable class time focusing on the test instead.

Everett thinks the test and how it's implemented still needs tweaking but it will help answer the question.

Whether or not the students are truly mastering the material and the curriculum, says Everett.

However Mesquias doesn't think the state should focus so much on standardized testing.

She says it takes more for a student to learn, reason and be successful in life.