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TAKS scores drop in VISD

By KBell
June 22, 2011 at 1:22 a.m.


FIND YOUR DISTRICT'S RATINGSPast year's accountability ratings are posted online at www.tea.state.tx.us.

Under the "How Do I..." headline on the right side of the page, click on "Find how my school is doing?"

Click the "Multi-Year District" link, and type in your district's name to find a breakdown of campus accountability ratings since 2004.

COMPLETE RESULTSThe Advocate will publish complete TAKS results and accountability ratings for each district on July 30, right after the Texas Education Agency releases them.

Victoria students performed more poorly on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills this year compared to last year, according to preliminary results released by the district.

Scores decreased overall for students in reading, math, writing, social studies and science - a drop the district attributes to a more rigorous state exam.

"While overall, we see huge gains from when we first started on the TAKS system, this year we anticipated we had some issues on the horizon," Susanne Carroll, executive director of curriculum, instruction and accountability was quoted in a news release.

Students took benchmark assessments earlier in the school year as part of the newly-implemented CScope curriculum. The benchmark tests indicated knowledge gaps in some students, which the district aimed to curb.

"While teachers adjusted their teaching to attempt to address those issues, the response was not quite enough to put some of the students over the top to earn the passing scores," Carroll said.

The district this year began new curriculum aimed at preparing students for the new, more rigorous standardized State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness exam, which will roll out next school year.

Diane Boyett, district communications specialist, said there is a widely held belief across the state that this year's TAKS was designed to be slightly more difficult in anticipation of the switch to the STAAR test.

TAKS scores were up statewide with the exception of some subject areas, according to the Texas Education Agency. For example, statewide scores dropped for middle schoolers taking reading exams that carried increased passing standards.

Besides a more rigorous test, this year's district averages take into account all students, including special education testers.

"In years past, a limited number of modified tests were included in the district and state averages. This year, everyone is included and that accounts for a small part of the decline," Carroll said.

In particular, math and science have posed the biggest challenges to VISD, with students scoring lowest in those subjects.

Though both areas saw decreased scores this year, math and social studies scores jumped 23 percentage points in the nine years of TAKS testing. Science scores saw a 40 point jump, according to the news release.

"We had leaps and bounds in the social studies scores because of refining curriculum," Boyett said.

The district plans to continue to push ahead with its curriculum and provide more staff development training through the summer.

"The staff is in place. The curriculum is in place. And, with continued training and curriculum implementation, we are ready for the increased rigor," Superintendent Bob Moore said in the release. "With every transition, there are change pains. We are seeing that now, but we will overcome them and emerge stronger."

The TEA will release district accountability ratings at the end of July, which will take into account the TAKS scores, as well as high school completion rates and targets within socioeconomic and ethnic groups.

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