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New statewide test raises questions


A new statewide test is raising questions among East Texas parents.

State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, will replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or the TAKS test.

Tyler ISD said this new test will ask more difficult questions, requiring a higher level of student performance.

Students in third grade through eighth grade and first time high school freshman will take STAAR EOC exams.

Parents met at Robert E. Lee Thursday evening to hear about the changes this test will bring. Afterwards, we spoke with Sheila Thurmond, a parent who also teaches in Tyler.

"From what I've seen of the released questions they're deeper; it's not computational. You really have to have a multilevel understanding of what's going on in the problem in order to be able to answer it. You're not simply going to be able to work an answer choice backwards,"
Thurmond told us.

Despite the increased difficulty level, Thurmon said she has confidence that her son and her students will do well on the test.

"There are many new aspects of t his testing program that both students and parents need to understand," said Marty Barbieri, Tyler ISD Director of Guidance and Counseling.

"There was surprising information that both the Texas Education Committee received, the superintendents and also the legislatures that serve on the committee," District 5 trustee Brad Spradlin said.

There are still some unanswered questions, but Tyler ISD tells us for this first go around, any student who scores a level two satisfactory or above will receive an automatic 100. Anyone who scores in the unsatisfactory level will receive a 69.

This test starts now, in the 2011-2012 school year. Tyler ISD told us Grades 10-12 will continue testing under the TAKS program.

For more information on STAAR, check out Tyler ISD's website at

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