• December 20, 2014

The 20 percent: STAAR results show demographic discrepancies

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Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 4:30 am

While 80 percent of Killeen Independent School District fifth-graders passed the math portion of the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness test, 34 percent of at-risk, 24 percent of economically disadvantaged and 25 percent of black fifth-graders failed the math portion of the STAAR tests.

Students are classified as being “at-risk” for a variety of reasons, including pregnancy, high absentee reports, failing a grade or a social service reports, said Debbie Ratcliffe, director of media relations for the Texas Education Agency.

Students also are classified as “economically disadvantaged” when they apply for free or reduced lunch programs or meet the federal poverty guidelines, she said.

The eighth-grade STAAR math test results showed similar demographic trends, with higher failing rates continuing to remain within a 5 percent differential range for at-risk, economically disadvantaged and black students.

Eighty-one percent of Killeen ISD eighth-graders passed the reading test, 75 percent passed the math test and 76 percent of fifth-graders passed the reading portion — all close to the state average.

However, higher STAAR failing rates in the reading test were seen in students classified as at-risk, bilingual or considered English their second language.

Among Killeen fifth-graders, 43 percent of ESL and bilingual students failed the STAAR reading test.

Similarly, STAAR reading test failure rates continued to increase for eighth-graders in comparative categories.

Fifty-three percent of Killeen’s ESL eighth-graders failed the STAAR reading test, while 51 percent students who were considered “limited English proficient” failed. Final reports, breaking down standardized test results by school, will be available in July.

Killeen ISD officials were unavailable for comment Monday.

TAKS test

According to recent TEA reports, 34 Killeen seniors retested and passed the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Test.

Seniors were required to pass the TAKS test in order to get their diploma.

In April, Diana Miller, assistant superintendent of Killeen ISD, said 116 total students in the district had not passed the test before their expected graduation date. Thirty-eight of those were considered special education students.

Special education students can go through a separate appeals process and bypass the test.

There were a total of 2,030 past seniors enrolled in the district, and further retest dates are July 7 and 10.

Class of 2014 students are the last to take the TAKS test, which was replaced by the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness in 2011.

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