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Victoria school district received recognized rating from state, highest ever

By From News Release
July 30, 2010 at 2:30 a.m.


Rebounding from an academically unacceptable rating last year, the Victoria school district posted substantial progress earning its first ever recognized district-wide rating from the Texas Education Agency.

Superintendent Bob Moore credited the hard work of students, teachers, administrators, support personnel and the community for creating the turn-around.

"Last year, the district received an academically unacceptable rating due to the low completion rates for economically disadvantaged students," Moore said. "School people and community people rallied to bring the drop out rate down and help more students earn their high school diploma. With today's ratings release, we see that hard work has paid high rewards. And, the rewards will continue to be seen as better-educated students enter the work force and become more productive."

In addition to the district's recognized rating, eight campuses earned exemplary ratings and another nine campuses received recognized ratings.

Four campuses earned academically acceptable ratings.

Two schools are rated under an alternative accountability system and received acceptable ratings.

No schools were rated as unacceptable.

The accountability system has been in existence for more than 20 years and the recognized rating is the first ever for the district.

Under the Texas accountability system, schools and districts are rated based on scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills and completion/drop out rates. The system measures the performance of all students as a whole and individual student groups, including black, Hispanic, white and economically disadvantaged students.

Moore noted that although a number of schools received higher ratings than actual TAKS passing scores indicated, the state's accountability system recognizes progress and said the schools earned their ratings, regardless of the methodology used to calculate them.

"We know there is some controversy over the additional ratings mechanisms, especially the Texas Projection Measure," Moore said. "I feel very confident that our schools earned the ratings they received. Across the board, almost every school saw increases in the TAKS passing rates for all tests and for all student groups."

The Texas Projection Measure goes beyond an individual student's meeting of standards or not meeting standards. The TPM uses a history of the student's TAKS performance over the years to predict success on the next level of TAKS. If the TPM finds progress toward passing, the school may receive credit for the student as having met standards.

School ratings may also be improved by seeing significant improvement in passing rates on the campus from one year to the next. In limited circumstances, an exception may be granted by TEA that does not count a specific student group in a specific test toward the ratings. No such exceptions were applied for any school in the district.

VISD achieved the recognized rating after posting gains in virtually every test and student group areas with the exception of a slight drop in the passing percentage for black American students on the math test. In the areas of math and science, the Texas Projection Measure was applied to "gate up" from acceptable to recognized for certain student groups. In both test areas, the actual passing scores for black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students missed the recognized requirements using the standard measure.

"The district is very much aware of the achievement gap between student groups and has been making great strides to close that gap," Moore said. "Even with the progress made to this point, we see even greater progress as we continue our move to small learning communities that are more responsive to student needs."

For complete report on how all Victoria Count and area schools did in the ratings see Saturday's Advocate.

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