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Lubbock ISD Shows Marked Improvement in Some TAKS Testing Areas, Falls Far Short of Expectations in Others

lubbockisd.org

Preliminary scores have been released on the state’s standardized test, and Lubbock ISD has made gains in some areas, and has not shown the sizable increases they had hoped for in others.

Some of the gains on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS test include a 48 percent increase in 11th grade math scores in a comparison between 2003 and 2011′s scores, a 28 percent increase in African-American scores on 5th grade Reading/English-Language Arts, and a 45 percent increase in students that passed the 11th grade science test.

Not all the results are as promising, with only 68 percent of LISD students passing the 10th grade TAKS science test, 57 percent of students passing the 9th grade math portion, and 78 percent of all sixth graders passing the reading portion of the test.

The district met the state’s standard requirements.

LISD Superintendent Karen Garza discussed the scores, saying “Despite increasing standards over the nine years of the test and the inclusion of special education scores in the most recent years of the TAKS test, Lubbock ISD has made significant gains, but we recognize improvement is still needed, especially in the areas of math and science.”

The state is currently phasing out the TAKS test, and is implementing the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test.

Other scores include 90 percent of all 4th graders passing the writing portion of the TAKS test, 75 percent of all 8th graders passing the science test, and 70 percent of 7th graders met the minimum score for the math test.

Lubbock ISD’s statement is included below.

Preliminary raw scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test have been released to school districts across the state. As the state begins to phase out the TAKS test and move to the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test, Lubbock ISD shows significant growth in student academic progress since the test was introduced in 2003. Superintendent Karen Garza said, “Despite increasing standards over the nine years of the test and the inclusion of special education student scores in the most recent years of the TAKS test, Lubbock ISD has made significant gains, but we recognize improvement is still needed, especially in the areas of math and science.”

The 2010-11 school year marks the last full year of TAKS testing. Beginning next school year, students in grades 3-9 will take the new STAAR test, which will be an even more rigorous test. Students who just completed the ninth, tenth or eleventh grade will continue to take the TAKS Exit-level test to meet graduation requirements. Students entering the ninth grade in the fall will be the first class required to pass end-of-course-exams to graduate. With the new and more rigorous STAAR just over the horizon, this year Lubbock ISD implemented C-SCOPE, an aligned, district-wide curriculum, to prepare students for the new accountability tests. Research shows that in the long run, a curriculum aligned within the school district and aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) is very important to student success. About two-thirds of school districts in Texas use the C-SCOPE curriculum.

The preliminary district scores indicate very high levels of performance continue in Reading/English/Language Arts, Writing and Social Studies, while the district continues to be challenged in some areas of math and science. Final accountability scores and rating information will not be released by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) until August, but school districts across the state are bracing for lower ratings with the removal of the controversial Texas Projection Measure (TPM). State Education Commissioner Robert Scott pulled the TPM provision this year after criticism by some lawmakers. The TPM credited students with passage on the test if their performance increased by significant amounts, even if it was still below the state passing standard. “It’s unfortunate the Commissioner of Education has chosen to remove this measure. Whether or not we agree with TPM, the agency did implement it only to remove it two years later, creating a public relations challenge for all Texas schools,” said Superintendent Garza.

Further changes to the accountability standards include a new requirement for schools to have a certain percentage of students scoring at the “Commended” level of achievement in order to receive the “Recognized” or “Exemplary” rating. Students must score at a considerably higher academic level of achievement to be “Commended.”

Regarding the anticipation of accountability ratings in August Garza said, “While we must wait for the agency to release official ratings on August 1, we are expecting approximately half of our schools to be recognized or exemplary, despite the elimination of TPM and the new commended requirement. We continue to be concerned about a handful of our campuses where the increased standard for math and science and the elimination of TPM may have a dramatic effect.” Garza added, “I am optimistic that we will experience significant gains in the coming years as we continue to implement our aligned curriculum and as we continue to focus on every child, every day.”

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