STAAR testing proving too much for students and teachers - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

STAAR testing proving too much for students and teachers

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DENISON, TX -- Texoma students are under pressure this week as STAAR testing kicked off Monday and will last through Friday. For third graders to high schoolers, STAAR testing includes multiple sections given at four to five hours at a time. Some teachers say this might be too much.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has continued to change STAAR since its launch in the 2011-2012 school year, but recent changes might not be for the better.

"The first thing that's changed is the test itself," says Lou Chandler, the English Department Chairman. "We had two separate four hour sessions for the ninth graders, then two four sessions for the sophomores, because the test was divided for reading and then another day for writing. By the end of the second day, they were toast."

Chandler has taught at Denison High School for ten years and seeing his students get overwhelmed isn't easy.

"There's just thirteen and fourteen year olds," he said, "by and large they know what's coming we've told them. We've been preparing them for years now."

Brent Hoy with Denison ISD tells KTEN teachers are feeling the pressure too. They couldn't administer the test without first training to meet the state's regulations.

"They don't want any problems," said Hoy, Director of Special Programs, "they want to make sure what they tell the students is clear and easily understood and to the benefit of the student and doesn't give them an unfair advantage."

Fortunately the TEA isn't kept in the dark about the problems facing students and teachers.

"We try to keep them in the game because they're sometimes so isolated from what's really happening in the schools that they don't see the stress, the impact on the students themselves because they are so young," said Chandler.

Chandler tells KTEN the next challenge is getting his students' focus back on track to finish the rest of the school year. But first he plans on enjoying a relaxing weekend to himself.