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Are Texas Schools Overemphasizing Standardized Tests? EPISD, Other Districts Pass Resolution

Ophelia Boden says she’s scared to go to school next week.

The third-grader in the El Paso Independent School District fears she won’t do well on the state-mandated standardized test called the STAAR exam.

“It’s harder and it has more questions,” said Boden.

The STAAR replaced the TAKS this year as Texas’s standardized test used to evaluate school and student performance.

Boden’s mother, Dolores Whitaker, told ABC-7 she is concerned by how much pressure her daughter feels in taking the test.

“Instead of learning what they should, they’re just learning how to do the test instead,” said Whitaker.

Concerns like those fueled a resolution written by the Texas Association of School Administrators. Dozens of school districts across Texas have passed the resolution, which states that “the over reliance on standardized, high stakes testing as the only assessment of learning that really matters (…) is strangling our public schools.”

The resolution “calls on the Texas Legislature to reexamine the public school accountability system in Texas and to develop a system that encompasses multiple assessments, reflects greater validity, uses more cost efficient sampling techniques and other external evaluation arrangements, and more accurately reflects what students know, appreciate and can do in terms of the rigorous standards essential to their success, enhances the role of teachers as designers, guides to instruction and leaders, and nurtures the sense of inquiry and love of learning in all students.”

Last Tuesday, trustees of the El Paso Independent School District passed the resolution. Records show the Tornillo ISD passed the resolution, as well, later that week.

On’s Facebook page, some supported the state’s standardized tests. The STAAR, which is described as “more rigorous” by the Texas Education Agency, has a new four-hour time limit.

“It is tough but our students need high expectations,” wrote Facebook user Sandra Arellano-Perez.

ABC-7 contacted the TEA for comment on the resolution. A representative wrote, “Right now, the TEA is working on redesigning the state’s public school accountability system to coincide with the new STAAR assessment. This new system will issue new ratings in 2013. So this would actually be a great time for the public to share their thoughts on what the new system should entail.”

Viewers can write in to the TEA about their thoughts at the following address: William B. Travis Building 1701 N. Congress Avenue Austin, Texas, 78701 Or via email:

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