KATY (FOX 26) - State assessment tests have long been a headache for public school students and their parents, but there is more talk across the state about people just saying "no." The standardized assessment test is increasingly criticized for being disconnected to actual school curriculum.
"How do we know what the STAAR is assessing?" asks Kim Belcher, an education watchdog who runs a Facebook group for parents of Katy ISD. "Is the STAAR actually assessing what the kids have learned in the classroom for this term?"
Belcher says she's opting her high school student out of the test this year for several reasons.
"The biggest one is that I don't want the data following him if he performs poorly on a test, if it doesn't have any benefit to him," Belcher says. "These tests ultimately do not benefit our children.
The test is given to students in grades 3 to 8 and into the high school level. It's used by schools to decide if a child's ready to advance to the next grade. There are other ways to determine that, so what the STAAR test comes down to is the state needing to grade itself.
"The STAAR test scores go into a state accountability system," explains Dr. Allison Matney, Executive Director of Research, Assessment, and Accountability at Katy ISD. "It's a standardized way to look at all the districts, and all the campuses across this large state, to be able to look at the same indicator."
Katy ISD says following the Texas Education code from its perspective means the test is mandatory, but they hear occasionally from parents wanting to opt out.
"There really are no processes for such a thing," Matney says, "However they're always able, as parents, to keep their children home on days that they see fit."
Some parents say the stress of the test makes their children physically and emotionally sick, and the district says it tries to help diffuse the pressure. But if parents do keep their kids home on testing days there are consequences.
Taking the high school level STAAR tests is a requirement of graduation.