Missed the STAAR Test? Understanding Consequences and Options
Missing the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness test (STAAR) can have serious repercussions, both for the student who was due to take the test and for the adult overseeing their school-going years.
However, occasionally emergencies arise, and it is unavoidable that a student misses the STAAR Test. If you are in this situation, don’t worry. There is more than one opportunity to take the STAAR.
We will go through exactly what will happen if a student misses the STAAR Test and what you can do about it.
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What Does Missing The STAAR Test Impact?
The test is mandatory and decides if the student is ready to proceed to the next grade level. Failing the STAAR test or not doing it at all can mean that the student, if at one of the lower levels, will have to spend another year at the level they have just completed.
This can seriously impact the student’s life:
- They see their peers progressing to the next grade while they have to remain at a lower grade.
- Incoming students may be younger than them.
- They have to begin making new friends in a grade where relationships have already been established.
For the older student in grades 9-12, the repercussions can be even more serious. Not succeeding on the STAAR test can see them missing out on graduating and getting that essential high school diploma.
For the parent of students at the younger levels:
- Life has to be put on hold for a year.
- They have the added burden of ensuring the student manages to exit that grade next time round.
For parents who have high school students in their families, it can well mean having to look again at career options open to the student as well as assessing why this has occurred.
What Can Be Done If a Student Misses The STAAR Test?
Dealing with the problem involves looking at a number of factors:
- Why did the student miss the test?
- Can the student take the test on another date?
- How can you, the adult, help them with this?
If a Student Was Ill Or There Was An Emergency
If the student misses a test because of illness, then you don’t really have a problem. Illness and legitimate emergency are not a respecter of a person’s exam situation.
High Schools offer students an alternative two days when they can do the exam after the original date. Contact your high school for more information about this.
If a Student Fails The STAAR
For the child who has failed a test, there are other dates available to them to resit it.
There are three different days to do every STAAR test for the student at High School level, meaning that a student who fails a test has the option of retaking it on one of the following dates.
Those dates are also available to the student who actually misses taking the exam. If the student in High School has failed to attend the test, they can simply go ahead and attend on one of those later dates.
However, if the child is in Grades 3-8, they have to do the test on the Friday of the testing week. This is their final opportunity to pass the test, and not attending on that Friday will see them having to repeat a year.
If a Student Didn’t Show Up For The Test
If illness is not the reason, you may have to dig deeper to find the answer. Questions to ask may be:
- Was the student afraid of failing the test?
- Does the student have a genuine phobia of tests?
- Had the student not worked towards passing the test?
Answering those questions should uncover what you have to do next.
Lack Of Preparation
If you answer “Yes” to the third question and discover the student did not work towards the test, you are faced with the challenge of helping them ace the test.
In that situation, there is help available. There are companies that provide resources and practice materials for students who need help with their tests. Using their services will help the student prepare for a retake.
Fear Of Test-Taking
If the answer to questions 1 or 2 is “Yes,” then you have a different challenge on your hands.
Fear of failure is a very common human reaction to challenges, and if it prevents the child from taking an exam, it needs to be nipped in the bud.
Otherwise, it will blight every challenge life presents the student with. And as every adult knows, there are challenges greater than exams.
There are some things that might help the child get over this fear. Perhaps you could remind them that the greatest failure is not the failure to ace an exam, but actually the failure to do it.
If somebody is afraid of failing, then the actual success does not lie in the exam results but in mustering up the courage to get in there and do the test.
However, if the student has an exam phobia, then that has to be dealt with a little differently.
A phobia is a very real fear that has to be conquered. You can compare the student’s exam phobia to the very real phobia people have about spiders.
Rationally we know that spiders do not want to harm us. For many, the only way to conquer this phobia is to take a spider in hand and realize their harmless nature for themselves.
Encourage your child to confront exam papers. You can get sample test papers online and work on them with the child.
When the child reaches the higher grades, these fears and phobias should have become a thing of the past.
But if they haven’t, then you may be dealing with another problem parents of students have to confront.
They Don’t Want To Take It
What if your child decides the world of study and exams is not for them? This problem, too, is surmountable. A lot of people are late bloomers academically.
When they arrive at maturity, they may well decide they would have fared better had they done their academic work while still at school.
But there are options. The one-time student can opt to work for an HSE (High School Equivalency) diploma that will bring many of the benefits the High School diploma they failed to get would have brought them.
It will mean having to work towards an exam while probably already working a job. But knowing the rewards that come with having that diploma will give them the motivation they need. And the resources they need to meet the challenge of doing an HSE are readily available.
About The STAAR
In an ideal world, all parents would know what precisely the STAAR is.
But in that ideal world, they would also know how to prevent the common cold or how to save their children from getting scrapes and bruises.
And as all parents will agree, there is no ideal world in the life of parenting school-going children. And especially when they are more often than not unwilling to discuss what happens when the school door closes behind them.
But to help them, you need to be armed with as much knowledge as you can possibly get about the STAAR and all that goes with it.
The Staar test is administered at certain points of a child’s schooling to ensure they are making progress necessary for the grade level they are about to enter.
The system works as follows:
- Grades 3-8 are tested on Reading and Math
- Grades 4 and grade 7 are also tested on Writing
- Grades 5 and grade 8 do Science tests
- Grade 8 do Social Science as well.
- Grades 6-8 Middle school
- 9-12 High school
Basically, the grade 3 child will have to do tests on Reading and Math. However, when the child reaches higher grades, the pressure to pass the tests becomes more intense.
For example, grades 5 and 8 have to pass their Reading and Math assessments if they are to advance to the next grade.
The intensity increases when the child reaches High School. To graduate and get that diploma, they absolutely have to do and pass Algebra, English 1, English 2, US History, and Biology.
Is The STAAR Hard?
The STAAR is a test on material students have already covered in school and, as such, should pose little difficulty.
However, if the student hasn’t put in the work to study, they may perform badly on the test.
Other factors can also impact their performance in the test. There may have been disruptions to their work routine, or they may be one of those students who find doing exams overly stressful.
How Do I Get The Student’s Results?
All students receive a STAAR report card giving their results and information on where they fit in in the overall percentile. Sometimes the report can be confusing. For example, “Approaches the grade level” means that they have pressed the test.
Other comments on the report card will give you an idea of how well they are doing. You may be told they reached Masters Grade Level or Meets Grade Level. The one you do not want to see is “Did not meet grade level.”
Missing the STAAR test is not the end of the world. It does present its own problems, and resolving the difficulties it creates can be challenging for the student but even more so for the adult responsible for guiding them.
For the adult carrying that responsibility, you are not alone. There are many more people facing the challenge, and there are people out there who can help you deal with it.
With 25+ years’ experience as a teacher and state examinations corrector, Elizabeth now writes for the education and careers industry. Her experience preparing students for examinations and running an academy for supplementary education give her invaluable insights into what it takes for job seekers and graduates to succeed in assessments.