Final exams soon a thing of the past at Frisco ISD



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Posted on May 17, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 17 at 6:13 PM

FRISCO — It's a decision three years in the making: No more final exams for Frisco ISD students.

"At every turn you're testing kids. How do we recover some of that instructional time?" asked district spokeswoman Shana McKay Wortham.

The district simply wants to test less and teach more.

Frisco mom Daphney Elliott isn't sure what to think yet. Her two boys will both be affected by the change.

"The bottom line is: Are they learning all they need to learn, and are we sure they've learned all they need to learn?" she wondered.

Right now, students take the TAKS Exit-level test, the SAT, the ACT, AP exams, Frisco benchmark assessments and final exams.

That totals 45 days of testing.

Starting this fall, the district hopes to remove roughly 16 days of testing by eliminating final exams.

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) will replace the TAKS test during the upcoming school year.

STAAR includes the 12 mandatory end-of-course assessments. It also requires mandatory assessments for students in the 3rd through 8th grades.

"We started out with TABS, then TEAMS, then TAAS, then TAKS, and now we're going to have STAAR," Wortham said.

The TAKS test will be phased out over the next two years for a new state test called STAAR that will ultimately become the end-of-year assessment.

Elliott said if that's anything like TAKS, it won't be test enough.

"The exams that they take are difficult, but the TAKS tests are simple. So I'm not sure the TAKS test is that great of an example of what they've really learned that school year," she said.

But Wortham defended the STAR exam. "It's going to be a more rigorous test; it is an end-of-course assessment," she said. "It will definitely measure what they are learning in that class."

We asked several young people about the change, and they were overwhelmingly happy with the choice.

"I think it's good that we're focusing on the curriculum we're assigned instead of giving tests that have been outdated for years," said student Garrett Shinn.