|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - December 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
BY VALERIE REDDELL
LIVINGSTON — In a public hearing Monday on results of the Texas Education Agency’s Academic Excellence Indicator System rate Livingston Independent School District as “academically acceptable,” with targeted populations continuing to struggle with the mandatory Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. LISD exceeds requirement for other evaluation areas to advance to the “recognized” rating, but test scores for the total population as well as subgroups for economically disadvantaged and minority students fell below the 75 percent threshold to receive the recognized status. Overall, 72 percent of students passed all sections of the test that covers reading/ language arts; mathematics; writing; science and social studies. Janan Moore, Assistant Superintendent for Curricu– lum and Instruction, said TEA is continuing to increase requirements for special education students to meet standardized testing requirements by passing either a modified or alternative TAKS test. “In 2009, a select group (of special ed students) were tested,” Moore said. “In 2010 more kids were added and this year every students will be tested. So when you look at scores, it’s not exactly comparing apples to apples.” Although it wasn’t a discussion during Monday’s meeting, another obstacle to making a direct comparison pointed out by many educators is that the ratings system measure the district’s progress by comparing one group of eighth-graders to the eighth grade class of the prior year (as well as third-graders and exit level students typically in 10th grade). That method assumes that all classes have equal abilities. Test results determine whether a student is promoted to the next grade level and can affect teacher pay and district funding. In the 2010 test, 56 percent of African American students passed all tests; 65 percent of Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students passed all tests, 69 percent of Native Americans and 76 percent of white students. Results of the Reading/ Language Arts test showed 88 percent of all students passed and nearly all subgroups made gains. By subgroup, 79 percent of African Americans, 82 percent Hispanic, 90 percent white; 81 percent Native American and 84 percent of economically disadvantaged students passed the reading section. Asian/Pacific Islander students had 93 percent passing, down from over 99 percent last year. In the math section, 66 percent of African American students passed (down from 67 percent last year). Overall, 80 percent of students passed and other subgroups all showed gains in the percent passing. Seventy-seven percent of Hispanic students passed, 83 percent white; 87 percent Native American; over 99 percent Asian; and 75 percent economically disadvantaged. In the writing test given in the fourth and seventh grade, 88 percent of all students passed; 79 percent of African Americans; 85 percent Hispanic; 90 percent white; and 86 percent of economically disadvantaged. The Native American and Asian subgroups were too small to report without compromising student confidentiality. In science, 85 percent of all students passed, 69 percent of African-Americans; 79 percent Hispanics; 88 percent white and more than 99 percent of Asians. The Native American subgroup was too small to report. The science portion of the test is only given in grades 5, 8, 10 and 11. LISD earned commended performance in social studies with 97 percent of all students passing. Subgroups showed phenomenal gains with 97 percent of African-Americans passing (up from 90 percent); 99 percent of Hispanics (up from 87 percent); 97 percent of whites (up from 96 percent); and 96 percent of economically disadvantaged (up from 90 percent). Twelve percent of LISD students met “Commended Performance” criteria on the TAKS tests (compared to 17 percent across the region and 15 percent statewide). Moore said the use of the Texas Performance Measure could have adjusting results to get LISD a recognized rating, except for the math results for the African-American subgroup. Analyzing results by grade level, Moore said seventh grade math scores went from 79 percent passing to 75 percent. At the same time, the number of students changing from a “modified” TAKS test to “accommodated” doubled. “I think we’re pushing students to retain more to have more rigor in the classroom,” Moore said. “Testing is going to take a little while to balance out.” Completion, college readiness TEA reports the percent of students who complete high school within four years as a completion rate. LISD meets the standard for a recognized rating with 85 percent completion, which matches the state average. All subgroups are above 90 percent completion, according to Moore. In the 2009 graduating class, 261 of 280 students completed (93.2 percent). Eighteen dropouts reported included 10 whites, seven economically disadvantaged, four Hispanics and three African-American students. In 2008, 238 of 261 completed (91.2 percent). Among seventh and eighth grade students, LISD rated far below the state mandated 1.8 percent dropout rate with 0.1 percent. Among economically disadvantaged students 0.3 percent drop out of school, even though they are legally required to attend. LISD rated acceptable in attendance with 95.6 percent. TEA reported 79 students (43 percent) in the Class of 2009 met “college ready” criteria on the TAKS test. Nearly 71 percent (168 of 237 students) completed the recommended high school program in 2009. In the 2009 graduating class, 118 attempted the SAT or ACT college entrance exams and 17 scored “at or above criterion,” according to the AEIS report.