Texas saw a jump in student scores on the STAAR test this year and Copperas Cove students excelled even higher than the state average.

Nearly 80 percent of fifth- and eighth-graders across the state successfully passed the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness mathematics test on their first attempts earlier this month, according to the Texas Education Agency. That’s a 2 percent increase over last year.

Cove ISD students and educators celebrated even higher scores with 84 percent of eight-graders passing the math portion on their first attempts and 81 percent of fifth-graders passing.

Texas students struggled more with their reading skills with slightly more than 75 percent of fifth- and eighth-graders successfully passing on their first attempts, keeping the rate relatively stable compared to the first administration passing rates in the 2012-2013 school year.

In Cove ISD, eighth-graders again saw a greater percentage of students passing than those in the fifth grade when it came to reading. Eighty-seven percent of eighth-graders passed, while 79 percent of fifth-graders passed. Both groups scored higher than the state’s 82 and 76 percent of eighth- and fifth-graders passing.

“We are very pleased with our students’ initial performance on the STAAR exam,” said Joe Burns, Cove ISD superintendent. “The achievement is the result of outstanding efforts by our students and exceptional work by our classroom teachers and instructional support staff.”

Many students, teachers and parents said they felt the stress that comes with preparing for, administering and taking the STAAR test. Copperas Cove Junior High student Beatrice Zills, 13, is breathing a sigh of relief now that the STAAR test is behind her. The seventh-grader said she felt the pressure to excel academically on the exams.

“I feel like I have to do good or my teachers won’t think good of me ... that they’ll be disappointed in me,” Beatrice said.

The expectation is she will feel even more pressure next year in the eighth grade.

Under state law, Texas students in fifth and eighth grades must pass the STAAR reading and math tests — regardless of their GPAs — to be allowed to go on to the next grade. The STAAR mathematics and reading assessments for fifth- and eighth-graders will be offered again in May. Failure to pass means students will be retained in their current grade levels.

How do Copperas Cove schools compare in the area? According to www.greatschools.org, which ranks schools based on test results, Cove ISD ranks a 6 out of a score of 10. Lampasas is also ranked a 6. Killeen ISD is ranked a 5, Belton an 8 and Salado a 7.

Additional information on the STAAR test is available on the Texas Education Agency website at www.tea.state.tx.us/staar/rpt/sum/.

Contact Wendy Sledd at wsledd@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7476

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