Students can be awarded certificates for being on the school honor roll all year and then told they failed because of grades on the state test called STAAR.
Some honor roll students are being required to attend summer school to take make-up classes in a subject they made an A or B on in class, but failed on the STAAR. Since teachers do not know what a student missed on the STAAR test, they will be re-mediating students using the same materials used during the school year. Thus, honor roll students are being asked to learn material they already know.
Students that might pass a subject with a C in a subject also attend summer school if the fail that subject on the STAAR test. As with honor roll students, teachers do not know what the student missed on the STAAR. It doesn’t matter, summer school is not designed to individual students. Instead, a set of prepared materials are taught in a short period of time.
If a student fails a subject in class as well as on the STAAR, the student goes to summer school and then passes to the next grade. Think about this. If a student doesn’t understand math and fails, how could this same student within the few days of summer school be taught all the math concepts presented during the school year and understand them?
After attending summer school, are students given the STAAR again?
I’ll be researching unanswered questions in this blog.
If your child failed because of the STAAR, I suggest that you challenge the administration. After all, it is your child that is being labeled as a failure. Questions that you might want to ask are:
- Of what value are the class grades if only STAAR grades are used for promotion?
- If a student fails in his classes, but passes the STAAR tests, is that student promoted?
- Do you think that with 100% accuracy, the STAAR tests access the abilities of every student?
- Is it possible that some students understand the material, as shown by class work, but do not test well?
- Since my child has passed his class work, do you think his teacher(s) have inflated his grades?
If not, then his class grades reflect his understanding of the material presented. Why is he being failed if he his teacher has assessed his understanding during the entire school year and has given him a passing grade?
If CSCOPE was used, point out that the vendor selling CSCOPE lessons has chosen to delete these lessons and never sell them again. In exchange the CSCOPE lessons will not be reviewed by the State Board of Education and the results publicized. Since there is evidence that some of the CSCOPE lessons were plagarized, some have incorrect information, some have biased political content, etc…… Ask:
- What evidence is there that using CSCOPE lessons has prepared my child for the STAAR?
- Is it possible that my child has learned the incorrect content of the CSCOPE lessons, thus failed the STAAR?
While you are asking questions, find out what material is being used in summer school. Also, ask if the school plans to return to using textbooks. Ask if CSCOPE has been removed.
Parents, please don’t let school administrators try to bully you. Any administrator worth his salt will sit on the same side of the desk with you instead of behind the desk where he/she is in charge. This is a meeting to discuss your child and what is best for him/her. It is not a court case or shouldn’t be.
Some administrators make an effort to confuse parents with education terms not familiar to most parents, nor do they have to be. Terms such as, vertical alignment, instructional information documents, year at a glance schedules, alignment with the TEKS, etc…………………… If you do not understand what is being said, stop the speaker as ask for explanation. Know that just because you do not understand what I call “Educaneze,” which is educational buzz words, don’t think you would be considered stupid if you admit this. It is unprofessional for school administrators to do this, but too many want to be in control. Keep reminding yourself that it is your child that will be punished if you do not stand up to this person. Also, you could very well be the one who gives other parents the courage to do the same.
Do not go alone. Make sure you have someone with you. Before you leave, restate what you understand and ask for confirmation that it is correct. Either record the meeting, which is best, or take notes and ask the administrator to sign them. Do not think about this making the administrator angry. It shouldn’t if they are providing accurate information. Just keep reminding your self that you are standing in the gap for your child.
The hardest part or at least it is for me, is to not get angry. Take deep breaths to keep your self calm. Don’t let the administrator rush you. After all, your child is being failed and you want evidence to support this decision.
Please share your experience so other can benefit from it. One parent questioned his child being failed and the decision was reversed. The honor roll student does not have to repeat an entire year of social studies.
by Janice VanCleave