STAAR Testing and AP Exam Updates

In person or virtual, COVID-19 continues it’s march across the field of education

Naba Chaudary

State testing is always the worst time of the year, and many wouldn’t disagree. Students are clouded with stress of passing and teachers are attempting to assist them in the best way possible. Once COVID-19 had taken over the last school year (19-20), Governor Greg Abbott of Texas had decided to waive the STAAR testing for all students (K-12), same for many other major exams such as the Advanced Placement exams. Now that the same exams are rolling around this school year (20-21), however, the state has chosen different formatting of testing.
Students will now be taking their STAAR tests in person, even if they are attending online school. Many Texas counties reported that elementary students had a skyrocket in test scores so they assumed they asked for help from a parent or guardian. Now the state has said only students elementary to middle school are allowed to miss this exam seeing as they will have to go up a grade either way, but students in high school will have to show up to take their exam on their written date since this will be mandatory for them to pass.
Many teachers and students have stated their opinion on this exam, what they feel about virtual kids taking it and the regulations.
“Virtual kids will have to be attending school no matter what, no student will be allowed to test off-campus. If they don’t show up then they will be marked absent and we’ll see where to go from there,” said Beverly Barker, a Calallen High School administrator who frequently regulates STAAR testing.
Other teachers are focusing on the students holistically.
“Since covid takes a toll on students, it’s a bit difficult to hold them accountable, I understand holding the exams but at the end of the day if they don’t show up does it reflect the students or teachers?,” said Casey Shuler, English teacher at CHS.
AP exams have also changed. The college board running it has said that students taking AP exams will be randomly selected to take it online or in-person. Students will be given three certain dates in the spring to do their exams, students online will not be allowed to go back to a certain question on an exam, once they answer a question it will be permanently saved. Therefore big arguments have been made by educators who are teaching AP classes, who feel that students will only struggle when taking the exam.
COVID-19 continues to keep students, teachers and administrators on their toes with changing ideas and standards.