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Education News

With No STAAR Score, Student Has to Complete Summer Project

The student’s mother opted him out of the state’s standardized test.



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This past school year at Helms Elementary in the Heights, Diego Geisler made A’s and B’s in the third grade.

But he didn’t take the STAAR exam.

Now he’ll complete a special, independent project over the summer to graduate to fourth grade.

That’s the agreement the Houston Independent School District made with his mother Claudia De Leon Geisler.

Earlier, he was facing either summer school or repeating the third grade.

“I’m glad that we opted out and we learned something and it’s going to better prepare for us for next year and what we’re going to do and how we will fight for a change.”

De Leon is part of a growing number of parents in Texas and around the country who want to opt their children out of standardized testing.

De Leon, who is also a member of the group Community Voices for Public Education, says she supports tests as diagnostic tools. But she doesn’t believe test scores shouldn’t be used to grade teachers.

She says her experience taught her something important.

“It’s the district’s policy that needs to be changed, because the Houston Independent School District out of its own volition has decided — above and beyond what’s mandated by the state — to require the STAAR test be taken for promotion.”

The Texas Education Agency requires students to pass the STAAR exam in fifth and eighth grades to continue to the next level.

The Houston school district goes beyond that.

It requires students from third grade through eighth grade to pass the STAAR exams in reading and math to be promoted.