By Dave Miller
Killeen Daily Herald
Twenty-seven out of 46 Killeen Independent School District campuses evaluated failed to meet federal accountability standards, according to a report released Wednesday by the Texas Education Agency.
All four KISD high schools and eight of 11 middle schools failed to make the grade.
Six of 10 Copperas Cove ISD schools also failed to meet "adequate yearly progress," or AYP, the report showed.
The numbers statewide followed a similar trend, with nearly 48 percent of Texas' 4,080 schools failing to meet AYP, and just 44.2 percent of campuses getting a passing grade.
The standards are based on the No Child Left Behind Law.
The number of schools missing the mark rose sharply over last year's totals; Texas education officials blamed passing standards that have gotten tougher.
In 2011, 66 percent of school campuses and 50 percent of districts in Texas met AYP standards.
Districts as a whole fared even worse than individual campuses, with 71.4 percent of the state's public and charter districts failing to meet AYP.
Both the Killeen and Copperas Cove districts were in that category.
In a news release late Wednesday, CCISD Superintendent Joe Burns cited incompatibility between federal and state accountability systems as one reason for the district's AYP results.
"Although the district and all of our campuses performed very well for the state accountability system, the federal and state accountability systems are not comparable," said Burns.
"Under the federal system, six of our campuses and the district did not meet the standards for Adequate Yearly Progress," said Burns. "What this says is that we as a school district have significant work to do, and we are more than ready to meet the challenge."
The Killeen Independent School District also issued a news release regarding the AYP results late Wednesday.
The release noted several unique factors affecting this year's ratings.
One factor was that the state implemented a completely new criterion referenced test in 2011-12 — the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, to replace the TAKS test that had been in existence for eight years.
The release also noted there is no state accountability system for the 2011-12 school year during the transition from TAKS to STAAR testing.
To date, the state hasn't provided districts with a passing standard for STAAR.
Finally, the release noted that this year for the first time, graduation rates were evaluated for all students and for each student group meeting minimum size criteria. Attendance rates continued to be evaluated for all students only.
"I am pleased with the progress the district is making with respect to student learning," said KISD Superintendent Robert Muller. "Although we know that there are areas where we can improve, the district continues to show overall improvement.
"The district's STAAR scores, from spring 2012, compare very favorably with the state STAAR scores," he said. "I believe that the documented scores reflect improvement across all four core subjects.
The AYP reports three indicators for each district and campus in the state based on seven student groups: reading/English language arts (Reading/ELA), mathematics, and either THE graduation rate for high schools or THE attendance rate for elementary and middle/junior high schools.
Over the past three years, the AYP system increased passing standards by 16 percentage points in mathematics and 14 percentage points in reading/English language arts.
According to the TEA, a school or district had to have at least 87 percent of its students pass the state reading or English language arts test to meet the passing standards this year, while 83 percent had to pass the state math test.
Last year's AYP only required 80 percent passing on state reading or English language tests, and 75 percent on math tests.
Schools that fail to meet federal standards for two or more years and receive Title I funding are subject to sanctions.
The student groups considered for AYP are All Students, African American, Hispanic, White, Economically Disadvantaged, Special Education, and Limited English Proficient, according to the Cove ISD release.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact Dave Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7543.