After a second year of testing under Texas’ newest assessment system, the Killeen Independent School District released preliminary passing rates for the 2012-2013 school year.
“The results of the state assessment validate in many ways the effective teaching that is taking place within our school district,” Superintendent Robert Muller said. “At the same time, given the infancy of the state assessments, we will continue to make adjustments to curriculum delivery to ensure all students make academic progress.”
An analysis of preliminary testing results from the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness was presented by district staff to the Board of Trustees on Tuesday night.
The results do not represent the “snapshot” used by the Texas Education Agency to determine accountability ratings, but included all Killeen ISD students who took the regular STAAR tests.
This year, students in grades three through eight were required to take the STAAR, and high school freshman and sophomores took STAAR’s end-of-course exams in multiple subject areas.
Test scores for STAAR fall into three levels. To pass the test, students must score in the second level — “satisfactory” — or the third level — “advanced.”
This year’s passing rates varied between grades and subject areas when compared to Killeen’s STAAR results for the 2011-2012 school year.
For example: 81 percent of third-graders passed the STAAR reading assessments this year, up 7 points from 74 percent last year; while just 72 percent of fourth-graders passed the reading assessments, down from 77 percent the previous year.
Passing rates on the end-of-course exams were generally lower than last year, according to the data; ranging from as small as a 2 percent drop in the passing rate for English I reading, to a 7 percent drop in the passing rate for Algebra I.
Those rates, however, included not only students taking the test for the first time but those who failed the exams and had to retake them, which may have accounted for some of the drop in passing rates.
“It’s like taking your failures and counting them twice,” said Teresa Daugherty, the district’s director of assessments and accountability.
Above state average
While the passing rates for Killeen ISD from last year to this year varied, the district’s passing rates met or exceed those at the state level in a number of subjects, including fifth- and eighth-grade math, which were 3 and 4 percent above the state average, respectively.
At the high school level, students met or exceeded the state’s passing rates on end-of-course exams in geometry, English II reading, biology and chemistry.
As the district continues to analyze the data from this year’s testing, changes to the system are set to begin.
For the 2013-2014 school year, the state will ratchet up passing standards across the board, meaning students will need to answer more questions correctly to be considered “satisfactory.” In two more years, the standards are set to rise again in a third and final phase.
While the tests will be harder to pass next year, students will be taking fewer of them thanks to the passage of House Bill 5 by Texas lawmakers earlier this week.
Among other provisions, the bill cuts the number of STAAR end-of-course exams from 15 to five.
“The beauty of House Bill 5 it that it takes more of a common-sense approach,” Muller said.
Killeen ISD STAAR results
Percentages of Killeen ISD students who placed satisfactory or above on 2013 exams:
- Reading ELA: 77 percent
- Math: 73 percent
- Writing: 60 percent
- Social Studies: 75 percent
- Science: 80 percent