Since introducing standardized tests in 1980, Texas schools have shifted the acronym associated with the test every few years to assuage parents who realize that the tests hamstring their schools. Now, in part because of the grading fiasco in which hundreds of Lewisville ISD students were awarded the wrong grades on their tests, it appears the STAAR test’s time has come.
The STAAR test, or State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, is the latest in a long line of tests with new-sounding acronyms, but are pretty much exactly the same thing. What started as the TABS test, or Texas Assessment of Basic Skills, in 1980 gave way to the TEAMS test, or Texas Educational Assessment of Minimum Skills, in 1984. This became the TAAS test, or Texas Assessment of Academic Skills, which became the TAKS test, or Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, which became the STAAR test we know today.
The state legislature is currently locked in furious debate about what to call the next iteration of the test. The options currently being debated include the Texas Interdisciplinary Test of Schooling, the Federal Assessment of Readiness in Texas, the Students Have Intrinsic Talent test and the Standardized Texas Development test.
The Texas Interdisciplinary Test of Schooling is extremely popular with a predominantly male legislature, but the Students Have Intrinsic Talent test could easily come out of the rear of the field. The arguments in favor of the Federal Assessment of Readiness in Texas have been identified as mostly hot air.
The least popular option, with LISD at least, is the Standardized Texas Development test.
“We don’t want to give our children STDs,” spokesperson Amanda Brim said.
Whatever it chooses, the state is still under contract to use Educational Testing Services, the grading company that failed LISD students, until 2019.