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The Student News Site of Lampasas High School

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English I Students Take EOC Field Test To Help Calibrate New AI Grading System

Most+of+the+upstairs+hallways+were+blocked+yesterday+while+English+I+students+took+the+STAAR+EOC+field+test.+
Joseph Neuenschwander
Most of the upstairs hallways were blocked yesterday while English I students took the STAAR EOC field test.

The freshmen took a field test for the STAAR EOC English I yesterday. This field test will determine which types of questions will be used on the EOC this year. 

The state does field testing every couple of years,” district testing coordinator Lori Weinheimer said. “Each test generally has 10 questions that are field test questions and do not count in results. However, when they do a special field test like this one, they can test additional questions.”

The exam will test a new AI system which will grade written responses. 

“It would be nice to get data, but this field test is really to help calibrate the AI system, so I understand why we are not getting data.” Weinheimer said. “We want to make sure that the AI system works well before April when the real STAAR test essays will be submitted, so it is good that they are calibrating the AI system.”

The school treated the test like an actual EOC test.

“Students will be asked to leave all electronics except their Chromebook in their backpacks turned off,” Weinheimer said. “We have many adults in the hallway to monitor students and bags in the hallway. Students also sign an electronic agreement before the test indicating that they do not have a phone on them. If a student is caught with a phone, then we do an investigation.”

Students were scheduled to remain in the testing rooms first period through fourth period, but were released to go back to fourth period because most had finished.

“This will be just like the STAAR so it will give students a chance to practice with the dictionary and other tools that will also be on STAAR,” Weinheimer said. “It also will allow ninth graders to see how testing runs at the high school.”

The field test will go in-depth enough to give students an idea of how the EOC will look. 

Getting to ‘walk through’ the process takes all the surprise out of the structure to go through with STAAR,”  English I teacher Bob Davis said. “Hopefully, it removes any concerns about how the test is administered and allows students to focus on content.”

Davis said that he and other educators are learning as they go with the new grading system. 

One thing I believe all English teachers are watching with some interest is how easy or difficult it is for students to manipulate the system,” Davis said “Time and experience will give us the answer.”

Freshman Lilly-Ann Pentz said the test was boring. 

“I finished in, like, 48 minutes so I waited about 3 hours,” Pentz said. “I just think that if we were going to sit in a room when most of us are actually finished, I say, like, some of us can actually leave and do our actual graded stuff.” 

English I teacher Megan Achee said that the AI grading system will be a “no win” situation for students.

We have no way of knowing what the AI grading will look like until this STAAR test is complete,” Achee said. “So for now I operate as I always have in terms of lesson planning. Until I see how this will all play out and how AI grading will work, I’ll keep teaching the ‘old school’ way.”

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