Some of you may have read a recent article in Texas Monthly magazine regarding the apparent misalignment of what students are being taught in classrooms and what the STAAR test is actually measuring in reading. Anyone who has taught reading in Texas over the last seven or eight years has probably questioned why their students reading performance has seemed to “flatline” on the STAAR state assessments.

I have never believed that any standardized test given on a single day is an accurate measurement of what a student has learned in a classroom. However, the research referenced in the article points out a whole new problem.

The article exposes a true misalignment of the STAAR reading portion, where students are being asked to show mastery of reading passages that are one to three grade levels higher their current grade level. There are many concerns surrounding this issue. Some of the obvious concerns involve the creation of a sense of failure between students, teachers, parents and local schools and communities.

Regardless of what school or class I visit, I see teachers and students engaging in meaningful and valuable curriculum working towards meaningful and valuable outcomes. We do not prepare students to take a test; we prepare students to go above and beyond what it takes to be successful in college, career and the military.

I am supportive of an accurate accountability system that measures students on what each student should know at their appropriate grade level. The STAAR test should not be designed to determine which students are performing above grade level and then punish those students and schools who are not performing above grade level.

The Board and I (along with many others) will continue to support and advocate for accurate, relevant and meaningful state assessments and the monitoring of student performance through an accountability system that measures the whole student, not just his or her performance on a single test.

Please click below to read the article:


H.D. Chambers
Alief ISD Superintendent