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Archive for the ‘TAKS Ratings’ Category

TAKS Passing rates vs Commended rates

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Holly Hacker has a great article in the Dallas Morning News today that explains and explores TAKS Commended rates. Read the full article here.

The TAKS rating system for Schools and School districts uses passing rates as a factor when establishing ratings. However, passing the TAKS merely means a student has reached the minimal competence level in a particular subject. The “commended” designation however is given to students who have mastered a subject.

As a parent, I want to know that my children’s school is teaching them subject mastery, not just the basic competence level required to pass the TAKS. Unfortunately, commended rates are usually overlooked in favor of the more generic “Recognized” or “Exemplary” labels used to rate schools. If you look deeper however, you may discover that the Recognized school you thought was doing such a great job has only 30% of it’s students reaching commended status.

Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD to Appeal 2009 TAKS Rating

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Officials from Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD say they will appeal their 2009 TAKS rating of “Acceptable”. The district was previously rated as “Recognized” by TEA but the rating slipped to “Acceptable” in 2009 due to dropout rates of it’s Hispanic student population. Read the full article from the Dallas Morning News here.

C-FB ISD, like many other school districts in Texas saw their overall rating slip because of a stricter definition of dropout adopted due to new federal standards. In addition to students who leave school early, the dropout definition now includes students who fail the TAKS graduation test and receive their diplomas later than their classmates. While this new definition more accurately reflects the true dropout rate in Texas, it creates a moving target for school districts and causes frustration for parents and educators. For C-FB ISD, the change caused the Hispanic dropout rate to fall from 85% to 83%. This 2% decrease was enough to drop the ISD’s overall rating from Recognized to Acceptable despite the fact that the district maintained and improved their scores in most all other academic areas of the test.

This case, like so many others underscores the need for parents to look beyond the four-tier rating system to see what’s really going on in their kids schools. On the surface, schools in Carrollton and Farmers Branch would appear to be average, but the reality is a school district that is excelling despite the shifting rules of the TAKS.

2009 TAKS Scores More Confusing Than Ever

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

TEA released the 2009 TAKS scores a few days ago and thanks to the Texas Projection Measure (TPM), a complicated system has become downright obtuse. The new rule allows schools to count students as passing even if they failed the test so long as they are predicted to pass in a future year. As a result, many schools rated “exemplary” by TEA did not actually achieve the official standard of 90 percent pass rate on all TAKS tests.

The measure was an attempt by TEA to reward districts who are making progress educating poor and bilingual students. However, it has in effect expanded the 4 tier rating system (Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable, Unacceptable) to 7 (Exemplary, Exemplary TPM, Recongized, Recognized TPM, Acceptable, Acceptable TPM and Unacceptable).

Finding out if your school or district’s accountability rating benefited from the TPM can be difficult. Parents must navigate the TEA website until they find the individual scores for the school in question and then analyze the passing percentages with and without the TPM to see if the rating is actual or projected.

The TAKS was created as a statewide measuring stick to hold schools accountable for educating young Texans. With the latest scoring changes, TEA has obfuscated the true scores of the test. When will we learn that this one-size-fits-all test is doing nothing to improve education in Texas?

Waco ISD Benefits From New TAKS Projection Measure

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

When TAKS school ratings are released at the end of July, Waco ISD expects to have 3 schools rated Exemplary and 10 more rated Recognized. Read the full article from the Waco Tribune-Herald here.

The improved ratings are partly due to the new Texas Projection Measure which looks at students’ progress and determines whether or not they are likely to pass the TAKS in future years. If they are on a trajectory to pass in the future, the student is counted as passing on the current test even if they’re scores were not sufficient to pass.

The controversial change has helped many districts to improve school ratings. Critics claim that the measure produces inaccurate results since ratings are not adjusted based on whether or not students projected to pass in the future actually pass.

2009 School Year Begins

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

All across Texas, students are returning to school on Monday August 24. In about eight months, most of those students will be taking the TAKS test to determine if they can graduate or be promoted. For many students, passing the test is easy. But many others will struggle to achieve the scores they need to progress in school.

Good luck to all Texas students, teachers and administrators. Here’s hoping that 2009 is a great year for Texas education!

Report Card Day for Texas Schools

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Today, the Texas Education Agency released 2009 accountability for all School Districts and Campuses across Texas. Read the full report here.

First the good news. The number of Exemplary campuses rose from 43 in 2008 to 117, partly due to the new Texas Projection Measure. Now the bad: tougher rules for counting dropouts caused the number of Academically Unacceptable campuses to rise to 87 — the highest number ever.

Keller ISD to appeal “Academically Acceptable” TAKS rating

Friday, July 24th, 2009

When 2009 TAKS accountability ratings are announced on July 31, 2009 Keller ISD will be downgraded from Recognized to Academically Acceptable. However, KISD officials will appeal the results and are confident they can regain recognized status. Read the full article in the Keller Citizen here.

KISD claims that 2 of the 19 economically disadvantaged students identified as dropouts by the state actually did not leave school. If the dropout status of these two students is overturned, the districts dropout percentage will rise above 85 percent and the rating will change from recognized to academically acceptable.

The dropout issue highlights a problem faced by many suburban districts with low poverty rates. A single econonmically disadvantaged student graduating can make the difference between an acceptable or recognized rating. And the importance given to TAKS ratings has a domino effect on housing prices and municipal growth — another unintended consequence of a system designed for education accountability.