Shiner students excel at STAAR
Standardized test scores among Shiner eighth-graders in two subjects are areas that need attention, according to the school district's superintendent.
"Our scores were good in most areas, but we do have two glaring areas of concern," Shiner Superintendent Trey Lawrence said.
"Our eighth-grade science and social studies results were extremely disappointing, and we are already taking steps to rectify the problem."
Preliminary results for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness exams were released late last month.
Only 49 percent of Shiner eighth-graders passed the social studies portion of the STAAR test, compared to 63.4 percent statewide.
In addition, 69 percent of Shiner eighth-graders passed the science portion of the test. The statewide passing percentage was 74.8 percent.
Shiner students did excel in other areas of the STAAR, including exceeding state passing percentages in all other subjects in all grades, except high school world geography, in which Shiner students were off by 1 percentage point compared to the state average, 79 to 80 percent.
At least one mother is not a fan of the emphasis placed on STAAR tests.
"I understand that it's good to know where the kids are, but it doesn't need to take up so much of their time," said Katie Williams, the mother of Blayke Muse, who took the standardized test for the first time last year as a third-grader.
"He was freaked out. A lot of the kids I was around were feeling the pressure," said Williams, who coaches at K&L Tumbletown.
Williams said that several children told her they had overheard teachers talking about losing their jobs if the STAAR scores were not good.
"The kids felt like they had to do good to save their teachers' jobs," Williams said.
Blayke passed the math portions "with flying colors" but struggled with the reading portion, said Williams.
Williams said standardized testing has other effects, too.
"Creativity is lost," she said. "Every child learns differently. All they are teaching is how to pass the test."