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STAAR testing underway: parents and kids feeling the pressure

By Cassandra Webb, cwebb@ktxs.com
Published On: Apr 01 2013 07:31:06 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

It's back again. The high stakes exam known as STAAR or State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, began today for public schools all across Texas and everyone is feeling the pressure.

Dyess Elementary fifth grader Amani Webb is taking the STAAR test for the first time.

She just moved to Texas this year.

Her stepmother, Wanda Webb, is a little worried.

"It does bring concern because I know that the focus, as far as academically, can be different in a different state," Webb said.

Webb says parents are feeling the pressure, too.

"The pressure's on us, too. Did we do enough? Did we say the right thing?" she said.

Dr. David Anthony, a former superintendent, says it's unfair to judge what a kid has learned this year based on just one day of the year.

"The testing has been made the end game and it has become very high stakes instead of what testing was originally designed to do, which was diagnostic and prescriptive for students to learn more," Anthony said.

One former testing tutor agrees that teaching to the test is not only difficult for her, but stressful for the kids.

"It really tore on them every, single day," said Bethany McVay. "It was discouraging and I don't blame them. If I had to sit in a classroom all day and write for eight hours and I struggled with it, I wouldn't want to come to school, either," she said.

Parents did say schools have been really good about sending home notices with tips to prepare kids and families for the test. They've been very hands on in making this a smooth week for everyone.

Here are some tips on how parents can help ease STAAR test stress:

1. Make sure your child gets enough sleep the night before the test.

2. Make sure kids eat a good breakfast. Oatmeal is a good option.

3. Urge your kids to relax.

4. Let kids know this is only a small portion of their lives and doesn't determine their self-worth.