OPINION: STAR English Test, Necessary but Not Adequate



The Standardized Test for the Assessment of Reading (STAR Test) is required for all students to take each semester.

At the beginning and end of each semester English students are required to take the Standardized Test for the Assessment of Reading (STAR Test). While most students dread taking this assessment, the county deems it is necessary to measure reading development over the semester.
This year teachers have been asked to give the test, as normal, and contact parents if their student scored below a 40 percent on the test. Teachers have been asked to recommend a next step for their students. Whether that be retaking the test or some type of tutoring lesson. While this could be a productive way to help kids improve their reading skills, I think there is a better way to solve this.
Over the past couple of years the STAR Test has given me and my peers much stress and trouble. The so-called reading test is a timed, adapted exam, (the more questions you get right the harder the test gets and the more you get wrong the sooner the test stops) that examines you on your comprehension skills and vocabulary. I understand that reading assessments are necessary for all grades and can give teachers and schools beneficial data, but I do not think that the STAR Test is an adequate exam.
A struggle most students deal with is the timed factor of the test. I know that it is stressful for me to take timed tests because I feel under pressure. As a student who has taken many timed tests in my schooling career I can confidently say that my scores are better when I have more time to take the given test. I, along with my peers and teachers, can only hope that the timed component can be removed so that less stress is put upon students when taking this exam.
A better alternative for this could be giving a different reading exam, or relieving the timed factor of the test. Although it seems as the STAR Test will continue to be given the way it is, teachers should at least have more access to training, or materials to help students be more proficient and feel more confident taking the test.
I feel that if I were given more materials or a chance to spend more time on the test I would score higher as I presume many other students would too.