STAAR Results

By Richelle Braswell

McLennan County high schools are put to the test

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness has undergone a significant change in the past year. House Bill 22, passed in June 2017, amended the original plan for the new accountability system to reduce the number of domains used from five to three: student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps. These domains are used to evaluate the academic performance of districts and campuses.

Individual campuses will receive an A-F letter rating for the 2018-2019 school year, but this year each has received an overall numerical grade for its performance. A grade from 60-100 means the campus “Met Standard.” Campuses rated 59 or lower are designated “Improvement Required.” These overall grades are determined by the numerical ratings the school receives for each accountability domain.

Student achievement calculates students’ knowledge and application of knowledge by evaluating three categories: STAAR performance score; college, career and military readiness; and graduation rate. School progress measures a school’s academic growth rate and relative performance. Academic growth compares how students performed on the STAAR test this year compared to the previous year. Relative performance analyzes how well a school’s students are progressing compared to those at schools with similar percentages of economically disadvantaged students. The higher of the two scores between academic growth rate and relative performance is assigned as the school progress score. Closing the gaps examines the progress of different groups of students — including students of different races and ethnicities, students in special education programs and students who are considered economically disadvantaged — and then measures how each group meets state goals along four areas: grade level performance; graduation rate; college, career and military readiness; and English language proficiency. The more groups that meet state goals, the higher the school’s closing the gaps score.

Each campus that receives a “Met Standard” overall rating is also eligible to receive up to seven distinction designations. A campus is awarded for achievement in one of the seven categories when the campus exceeds performance in that area compared to 40 similar campuses. If a campus does not receive a distinction designation, that does not mean the campus failed those categories. Rather, no award indicates the campus did not have outstanding performance in that category.

A new user-friendly website, txschools.org, was created to report the results of the new rating system. The site is an interactive source to find scores for each district and campus in the state of Texas. It breaks down the three domains and includes easy-to-understand infographics to explain how the scores are calculated. Because the website simplifies and condenses the information, a “dig into the data” option opens a new window with the complete data.

On the next two pages, you will find a statistical snapshot of 19 public high schools in McLennan County for the 2017-2018 school year. It covers everything from test scores to demographics. All the high schools in the county received a “Met Standard” rating. As such, we are only reporting each school’s overall numerical grade. To compare statistics on a broader scale, we’ve also included the statistics for the state average of Texas public high schools. This information is based on the 2018 accountability ratings released in August and finalized in December. While these statistics serve as an indicator of a school’s performance, they don’t reveal everything a school offers or how classes are run. A visit to the school’s campus is necessary to gain a better feel for a campus and its learning experience. You can learn more about the STAAR tests, accountability ratings and the changes in the system as well as accountability reports for each campus by visiting the Texas Education Agency’s website at txschools.org.

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