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Superintendent's column: District's testing scores show good progress

By BY ROBERT JAKLICH
Aug. 10, 2013 at 3:10 a.m.

Robert Jaklich

On Thursday, the Texas Education Agency released the 2013 state accountability ratings for school districts and individual campuses across the state of Texas.

In this first year of the new accountability system, schools and school districts will receive a rating of either "met standard" or "required improvement." The new accountability system measures schools and school districts with a four index model, and the four indexes are: index 1: student achievement; index 2: student progress; index 3: closing the performance gap; and index 4: post secondary readiness.

Index 1, student achievement, measures the percentage of students passing the state assessment exams. To pass this index, a school or school district is required to score a 50 or more. As a school district, the VISD scored a 66 and as such, "met standard."

Index 2, student progress, measures the percentage of students who met progress or exceeded progress in State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness grades fourth-eighth and the five high school end-of-course exams. To pass this index, the following scores need to be met: 30 for elementary schools, 29 for middle schools, 17 for high schools and 21 for the school district. As a school district, the VISD scored a 34 and, as such, "met standard."

Index 3, closing performance gaps, measures the percentage of students in performance gaps groups who passed the state assessment. Tests that are included in this category are the STAAR grades third-eighth and the five high school end-of-course exams. Each school and school district is measured by the three performance gap groups that showed the lowest growth during the 2011-12 school year. These identified groups will vary from campus to campus and from school district to school district.

As a school district, the VISD was measured by the economically disadvantaged, the African-American and American Indian performance groups. In each of the three performance groups, school districts are required to have 25 test takers in each subject area of math, science, reading, writing and social studies to count as a scoring measure. In the VISD, our American Indian performance group only had 22 American Indians tested in areas that ranged from grades third-11th. Since there were not enough students in an individual grade level or subject area to meet the 25 test taker requirement, as a school district we were not able to receive a score on this performance group, even though they experienced a 5 percent growth. This leaves the VISD to be measured on the two remaining performance groups of economically disadvantaged and African-American. To pass this index, a school district is required to score a 55 or more. As a school district, we scored a 54.2 which is less than a point from the "met standard" requirement. Therefore, our rating as a school district is "improvement required."

Index 4, post secondary readiness, measures the graduation rate, the recommended high school plan and the distinguished high school plan. To pass this index, a school or school district is required to score a 75 or more. As a school district, the VISD scored a 78 and, as such, "met standard."

Although the VISD has received a rating of "improvement required," we have much to be excited about. Eighteen of our campuses were rated "met standard," with eight campuses earning the special recognition of "Distinction Designations." Both Victoria East and Victoria West high schools are no longer rated as academically unacceptable, and our third high school, Liberty Academy, exceeded the state standards in all four indexes by 20-70 points.

Jackie Robinson once stated, "A life isn't significant except for its impact on other lives." On behalf of our board of trustees and the entire school district, our focus on "Every Child, Every Classroom, Every Day" will never waver, and we will remain steadfast in our commitment to you to become an exceptional school district, one student at a time.

Robert Jaklich is the superintendent for the Victoria Independent School District. Contact him at 361-788-9202 or through the VISD website, visd.com.

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