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From Dr. Rick Reedy
Parent Involvement –
Helping students to have a healthy attitude toward testing . . . (February, 2005)

We'll revisit this topic as we begin the second session of TAKS testing this week.

Parent InvovlementHigh-Stakes Testing – Is this what it is all about?
This week, some grade levels of students are taking the writing portion of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) and the reading portion, as well. In April, the remainder of the testing will take place. Throughout the district, these students will be reminding parents they need a healthy breakfast and a good night’s sleep, and some may be feeling a bit stressed. We as parents must help them gain a healthy perspective. Is the TAKS test important? Yes. Is your child prepared? Certainly. All that we can ask of our students is that they take it seriously and give it their best. Most students will do very well with little additional effort. Some students have received extra tutoring after taking practice tests, which showed some areas that needed to be strengthened.

All this talk of TAKS then begs the question – Is this all we are teaching? The answer is no, and yes.

Here is some insight from our Director of Secondary Instruction Mike Waldrip.
The purpose of a written curriculum is to ensure that students are given a firm foundation in essential knowledge and skills while at the same time teaching students to be logical, critical thinkers, exposing them to a wide variety of educational experiences. The state of Texas provides public school districts with a foundation curriculum for each subject area taught. This foundation curriculum is called the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

Students are assessed annually on the TEKS through an assessment program called the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills or TAKS. TAKS testing assesses student understanding of the TEKS and their level of mastery in various subject areas.
To say we teach to the ‘test’, referring to the TAKS test, is correct in the sense that each subject area covers, and is designed to ensure mastery of the TEKS for that course. However, courses taught in public schools are much broader in scope than the basic TEKS. Students are exposed to a much richer content than basic, essential knowledge and skills. It’s this additional content that often provides a more enriched educational experience for students.

Standardized testing has been and will continue to be a fact of life in public schools. With the recent passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, the federal government is also requiring assessment of student mastery in various subjects in addition to our current state program.

All said, these assessment requirements will never be the end all to what is taught in our classrooms. The classroom experience will continue to be enriched by experiences beyond the basic requirements of the state and federal government, to the benefit of all students; what is taught will always be tested. In Texas, the testing is much more rigorous than in other states.

Whether you like the TAKS or not, accountability systems do cause focus to be placed on areas needing improvement - working to help each individual student learn and grow to his/her full potential is our biggest responsibility. To do that, we will continue to test as many students as possible, knowing that how well students perform on the test is the largest factor considered in how a school and a district is rated.

FISD does not put pressure on its schools, principals or teachers to achieve a certain rating level, but our goal will always be to gain Exemplary status, because we know that is the type of school system we are. Our commitment is that every student will pass the state-mandated assessment, and our larger goal is to continually increase the number of students who perform at a commended level – mastering the objectives and not just passing the tests.

Parent Resources

Learn more about Texas Education
Student Achievement and Campus Accountability School ratings, test scores and detailed campus information is available from the Texas Education Association's website at:

Testing Dates
For ACT and SAt Testing dates and scores please refer to:

Looking for Performance Ratings & Scores?
For the most current and comprehensive information on student performance, testing, scores and comparisons, please reference the Texas Education Association website at:

The Parent Institute:
A free online resource for all FISD parents. The Parent Institute features, daily tips for parents, ask the expert, a school success library, an idea of the day and a weekly parent quiz. - Try it today!

Federal and State Educational Initiatives
Learn about "No Child Left Behind", State mandated testing, accountability, school ratings, school report cards (AEIS) and more.