Poet Can’t Answer Questions About Her Own Poem on a Texas Standardized Test
Awesome, how can we expect a student to answer these when the person who is the expert can't even answer the question right?
Sara Holbrook recently told the Huffington Post that she became aware that two of her poems were being used here in Texas for standardized tests. She became curious and reached out to the company that makes the test. They gave her the section of the test with her poems and questions that followed about the work.
Yes, these questions are on the STARR test that many complain about in our state. Sara said seventh graders shouldn't be dealing with one of her most neurotic poems she has ever written. One of the lines reads, "I’m just down with a sniffly case/of sudden-self-loathing-syndrome … an unexpected extra serving/ of just-for-now-self-hate."
Turns out the STARR test makers are changing the format of some of her poems and causing people to interpret it in different ways. She says one of her poems 'Midnight' is about insomnia, but that isn't what the STARR questions address. She went onto say this in her original story.
"These test questions were just made up, and tragically, incomprehensibly, kids’ futures and the evaluations of their teachers will be based on their ability to guess the so-called correct answer to made up questions," said Sara Holbrook. She went into a full breakdown of everything wrong with these tests. Honestly, it's a very informative read and honestly suggest you check it out. Especially if you have a student dealing with these tests.
She closed out by saying this. "My final reflection is this: any test that questions the motivations of the author without asking the author is a big baloney sandwich. Mostly test makers do this to dead people who can’t protest. But I’m not dead." Good point Sara.