Administration to Waive STAAR Based on PSAT Scores

Chris Ybarra, Photo Editor

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A new program in the school has exempted the STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) tests for a select group of freshmen last month. The announcement was made last week in the lecture hall during academic period.

¨If kids take the PSAT [Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test] in their 8th or 9th grade year and hit a set score, then they can waive [the STAAR],¨ Kaitlin Shropshire said. “Mrs. [Lori]Weinheimer has started going to the kids and is saying, ‘Hey, you qualify for this,’ but in the future, it’s probably going to be up to the students. They’re going to have to know their scores, if they qualify and then they’ll have to come to us. Having those set ACT and SAT scores, we could also be able to waive the EOC’s.”

This new privilege could also lift one of the weights that students bear on their shoulders during this time of the year. The waiving of the STAAR means one less test for students to take at the end of the school year, as they also have semester exams, extracurricular activities, as well as graduation and college for seniors.

Freshman Katie Procter is one student who is not required to take the STAAR EOC English I Exam due to her grade on the PSAT.
“I’m honestly pretty relieved,” she said. “I know by the end of the year I’ll be exhausted from all things school and there’ll be multiple other tests. I think it’s really good and gives the students another reason to take the PSAT and encourages us too. I’m glad our that our school did this and I hope there will be more similar adjustments in the future.”

Changes in the public education system are not only occurring at LISD, but also on the state level. This new exemption rule could be the first step to other changes to standardized testing in the school.

“Right now, there is a piece of legislation going through that actually proposes getting rid of the STAAR,” Shropshire said. “I don’t know if there have been any votes on it, but they are actually proposing to get rid of the STAAR and use the TSI, ACT and SAT for the standardized tests instead of the EOCs. There is also a legislation that any kid that took 8th grade algebra, they are required to take the ACT/SAT sometime in their high school career if they didn’t take the math STAAR. We see a lot of the bigger districts substituting kids in masses right now. I think as people start to get used to it, kids who are on the track to take the ACT/SAT will be able to devote more time to preparing for those tests instead of worrying about the STAAR.”