TAKS: an illusion of proficiency
In recent years the Texas Education Agency has come up short in evaluating the true performance of our high schools’ youth within their education. The dreaded Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test is rapidly becoming a deceitful view of high school students’ overall level of material retention.
Parents who believe that this exit assessment test (given to Texas high school students as a requirement to graduate) is an accurate understanding of how their children are processing data they learn in the classroom are misled.
Recent studies comparing the Texas proficiency score and the national average show that we are significantly under par.
In response, TEA has lowered the student knowledge required to pass such examinations. Simply put, the Lone Star State has an easy "proficiency" score compared to other states.
Why is this a problem? Up to this point, inaccurate testing results have placed Texas education on a pedestal, putting parents at ease due to the increased scores from easier tests.
The idea that TEA has lowered its standards is awful. If students showed a decline in scores, why not look to methods for bettering their education and challenging students more in the classroom rather than holding their hands and succumbing to students’ weaknesses?
We should re-evaluate teaching instructors’ curriculums and classroom faults as opposed to faults in the test.
The No Child Left Behind Act requires students to be proficient in reading and mathematics before their departure from high school. This allows states to formulate the tests and craft their own interpretative definition of proficiency.
Setting a low bar for students increases the passing rate of students; therefore, if students are passing, they will not have to undergo accountability portions of No Child Left Behind and Texas will not worry about improvement in the worst schools.
Also suffering tremendously is the classroom curriculum. TAKS review sessions are being scheduled as a daily requirement in all Texas schools. Rather than learning the material, students are being taught how to bubble in the right answer by the process of elimination.
Thus, our teaching outline for pre-colligate students consists of reading, writing and answer choice probability. Students claiming the once prestigious title of being proficient in TAKS are no longer "carrying that much water," especially when the Texas standards are less difficult than two-thirds of the other 49 states.
At least Austin officials are able to sleep well at night while students pay the price.
Baerga, a communications junior, can be reached via [email protected]