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Leaders Fight To Keep STAAR System Intact

(credit: Texas Education Agency)

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - With an estimated 42-percent of new Texas community college students needing remediation, state business leaders are renewing their defense to keep the STAAR accountability system intact.

According to Texas Association of Business President Bill Hammond under STAAR, accountability is based on college readiness. He says the system is far better at truly depicting the status of state schools. "You have a system where in the past everybody gets an A or a B, 70-percent of the campuses are rated exemplary or recognized, and that's so far divorced from reality."

Hammond admits modifications to the STAAR system may be needed, but once those are done state lawmakers would be able to focus on school finance.

"We now have a new system that's hopefully going to be based on the core principle of career or college ready," he said. "And hopefully we can put this issue of accountability to bed."

The issue of nearly half of Texas community college students needing additional assistance to improve their abilities goes beyond just school ranking. Hammond said, "Remedial courses are deadly. So many kids just quit, they give up, because of having to take remedial courses."

The STAAR test replaced the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. The end-of-year STAAR exams only test kids on what they learned in a particular course, for that year. The TAKS test included course testing for all four high school years.

In addition to tracking student performance in English, math, and science for students 3rd through 8th grades, the STAAR test also serves as an end of semester exam for high school students.

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