To Test or Not To Test? iUP Thoughts on the Debate

Samantha Anderson, Staff Writer

In the pursuit of public education in Texas, students have encountered a standardized test that has shaped much of their education. Since the third grade, students enrolled in a Texas public school have had to take the STAAR test. This meant hours of sitting in a silent classroom taking a test that might seem impossible to some. Of course, many students will say that this test is unnecessary and a waste of their time. However they never actually looked at the pros and cons of this test.  


Is There an Upside to Taking the STAAR Test?

It can seem like a beating to some students that they are required to take a tedious test that consumes half of a day, but this test has many advantages.


The STAAR test provides teachers a wonderful benchmark as to where their students stand on the topics being covered in that particular class. If a student is not meeting the standards that are set for the STAAR test, it shows the teachers, staff, and parents that something is going wrong for this student when it comes to this particular class. This could be an assortment of issues that cause the student to not meet standards, however, the STAAR brings these issues to attention so they can get fixed and the student can get the most out of their education.


Standardized testing, like the STAAR, is particularly helpful in alerting teachers to certain problem areas for students. The STAAR test covers all topics that have been learned in a school year. This allows for the data to reflect upon what topics the students struggle with the most, allowing the teachers and staff to fix the curriculum and get the students the help that they need on that particular topic. 


Much of Texas’s public education curriculum has been formed around the STAAR test. This provides a good structure to the curriculum and allows for the teachers to hit on all of the important topics that should be covered in that year.


What About the Downside To the STAAR Test?

Though the test has many great advantages, there are many downsides when it comes to the STAAR Test. 


As a student, the STAAR test can be daunting. You spend your whole year working extremely hard just for administrators to turn your hard work into a data point based on one test. Often administrators look at the results from the data collected from the STAAR, but they fail to take into consideration how the students’ attitude towards education, the students’ overall grades in classes, and many other factors that cannot be properly shown on a test. 


Teachers are given a curriculum at the beginning of each year that leads up to the STAAR. They base everything that is done in a year off of what you are going to need to know for the STAAR. This often does not leave time for other outside topics that need to be learned. Learning is based on one test instead of topics that are needed throughout life like how to do taxes. 



The STAAR test does not cover every skill that is important. The STAAR test does not give room to show off skills such as creativity or time management. It is said that STAAR covers all important topics, but what about these other topics? They are simply pushed aside, but they are arguable topics that are important and should be learned and tested. 


Being a student can be extremely stressful. STAAR is one of the most stressful things for a student in the Texas public education system. It is talked about and built up to the entire year. This can cause immense amounts of stress that can affect students and their scores. 


When presented with a test, some students might cheat. This makes the results less credible and gives false data which can mess up the whole point of the test which is to be able to tell what the students learned.


What Do The Students at IUP Think?


When polled 60 present students for IUP thought that they were better off without the STAAR.  Many of them thought that the STAAR test put too much stress on the students and was not always an accurate test of where students stood on topics. Keely Wilham said “, I think they put unneeded stress on the student and even the teacher. In my opinion, classes shouldn’t be taken in order to do well on a test; classes should teach you information that can be used later in life. Learning information simply to pass a test that, in the real world, doesn’t matter too much sounds like a waste of time and knowledge to me.” 


That being said 40 percent thought that it was necessary. They believed that it was reasonable to take a test so that the teacher could tell where we stood on certain topics and what the student has learned throughout the year. Makenna Horne had an interesting stance when it came to the STAAR ”, I think it is good to have some sort of standardized testing to ensure that students are learning what they should be. However, I don’t think we need all of the STAAR tests, just the math, reading, and writing ones. I feel like STAAR tests are good tests to see if students are able to apply what they have learned in school.’  


So Is It Worth It? 

When considering if the STAAR test is worth it there is so much to consider. Each person is going to have their own reasons as to why or why not the STAAR test is beneficial and they are all going to differ. Some may say the Pros outweigh the Cons and vice versa, but at the end of the day, there is a common goal of wanting the best education. 



Texas Education Agency. (2021, July 1). STAAR resources. Texas Education Agency. Retrieved September 14, 2021, from