The Texas Education Agency recently released the preliminary results of the first administration of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test, from fifth and eighth grade.
STAAR is the state’s testing program and is based on state curriculum standards in core subjects including reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies. STAAR’s accuracy in determining academic readiness has been widely discussed and debated by legislators, educators and parents. In last night’s Jourdanton ISD Board Meeting, Superintendent Theresa McAllister delivered a report on the preliminary testing. She pointed out that there is a lot of controversy and discussion about the readability of the tests and how they are about two levels above the tested grade.
The accompanying graph details the preliminary STAAR Reading and Mathematics results for fifth and eighth grades in Atascosa County. The test was administered in April.
The following is how the agency defines the performance levels used in the assessment:
Masters Grade Level
Performance in this category indicates that students are expected to succeed in the next grade or course with little or no academic intervention. Students in this category demonstrate the ability to think critically and apply the assessed knowledge and skills in varied contexts, both familiar and unfamiliar.
Meets Grade Level
Performance in this category indicates that students have a high likelihood of success in the next grade or course but may still need some shortterm, targeted academic intervention. Students in this category generally demonstrate the ability to think critically and apply the assessed knowledge and skills in familiar contexts.
Approaches Grade Level
Performance in this category indicates that students are likely to succeed in the next grade or course with targeted academic intervention. Students in this category generally demonstrate the ability to apply the assessed knowledge and skills in familiar contexts.
Did Not Meet Grade Level
Performance in this category indicates that students are unlikely to succeed in the next grade or course without significant, ongoing academic intervention. Students in this category do not demonstrate a sufficient understanding of the assessed knowledge
Commentsand fromskills. local Superintendents
“This is just the first administration of the test. All this shows is that at the point in the year in which these tests were given, a student was or was not able to meet the standard measured by the state. Students not demonstrating Approaches at this point will have the opportunity to test again in the next week. The second administration is what is counted into the accountability ratings. I am extremely proud of our staff and students. We are always working to improve not just STAAR scores, but in all measures of student success,” said Pleasanton ISD Superintendent Dr. Matthew Mann.
JISD Superintendent McAllister said, “JISD students and staff work very hard all year to master the state required TEKS. Although these scores only reflect a snapshot of the successes of our students, JISD will continue to work on improving the results on the STAAR test. Our goal is not to simply ‘approach’ grade level, but rather achieve a score of ‘meets or above’ grade level.”
Poteet ISD Superintendent Charles Camarillo said, “Obviously these scores are just the first of many to come this month. We are extremely proud of our teachers and students and are proud that our scores are some of the best in the county. Our goal is to continue to get all or our students to meet or master. We also need to remember that these test scores are just one measure and that we define our students’ successes and their continual progress by many variables that do not show up on this graph. We have great kids at Poteet ISD and it is our goal to cultivate their talents, skills, great attitudes, and hard work to create opportunities during and beyond high school.”
As of press time, Charlotte ISD had not yet responded.
Students must pass these exams to move on to the next grade level. Those who “did not meet grade level” still have two more chances to pass in May and again in June.