Hailey Babbel is a third grade student at Crockett Elementary School in Wichita Falls and Tuesday was her first time taking the state's new STAAR test. Before taking the test, Hailey spoke with Newschannel 6 Brittany Glas about her fears and anxieties regarding the new Texas state test that state officials are calling "the next generation" of standardized tests.
"I think it's going to be hard. I'm nervous about the one on Wednesday. This one I'm not super scared… But, I want to get it over with," Hailey Babbel said.
The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test (STAAR) is the replacement exam for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. Its implementation has been a controversial topic in Austin at the state legislature, among school districts on campuses across the Lone Star state, as well as among some Texoma parents. Hailey's mother is one concerned parent in Texoma. She's worried the STAAR test is causing too much stress for her children, especially for Hailey, 9, and questions some of the test guidelines and new additions that come along with it.
"Hailey is very worried about it and is stressed out about it, so it's hard to see her stressed out about a test," Hailey's mom, Sarah Babbel told Newschannel 6. "I understand it is a big deal," Babbel said, "but I think they make it too big of a deal. I think that they stress the kids out."
Sarah Babbel explained that this new standardized test is like nothing else she's seen as a parent. "We are brand new to Texas and brand new to the STAAR test and in other states that we've been in, the state testing has been somewhat of a big deal. Nothing like Texas," said Babbel.
To add to all of the stress, Hailey won't be the only Babbel daughter facing the STAAR test Tuesday and Wednesday. Sixth grade Zundy student, Laura Babbel, is the oldest of Sarah's five children and she's also set to take the test.
Laura said she's not really nervous about the STAAR test this year, but is worried about her eighth grade school year when she knows there's more at stake. She said she knows all about the pass/fail grade stipulations that come along with the test that apply to students entering high school.
The girls' mom knows her daughters' teachers have prepared them well for the test during the past school year, but told Newschannel 6, regardless, it's difficult to help her kids cope with the anxiety that's come from the test. She is, however, doing all she knows how for them; especially Hailey. "I've really just tried to downplay it, like it's not as big of a deal as they're making it out to be... just to kind of reduce her stress," said Babbel.
Hailey Babbel has her own strategy to deal with the STAAR stress, however. She told Newschannel 6 that before she begins her tests each day, she'd say "a little prayer."
For a schedule of the remainder of the 2012 school year's STAAR testing dates, visit http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index3.aspx?id=3635&menu_id=793
If your child is about to take the STAAR test or will in the future and you'd like some help preparing as a parent, here are some links for you:
STAAR Test Resources can be found and downloaded at the websites listed below.
TEA STAAR Test Questions & Answers:
For additional information, contact:
Student Assessment Division