Changes from Austin make testing and accountability unclear for Stafford MSD
By Karen Daniels
Education is in a condition of flux right now in Texas, especially when it comes to testing our kids. At the February Stafford MSD Board of Trustees meeting, the AEIS (Academic Excellence Indicators System) annual school performance report was presented. Due to the transition from TAKS to STAAR, this year only 10th and 11th graders were reported on. For the District, the combined total of both grades for English/Language Arts (92%) and Social Studies (96%) were equal with the State’s standards. Math and Science were slightly below the State’s average. The 10th graders scored slightly lower as a group than the 11th graders. It was suggested that the reason for this could be due to the lack of consequences for 10th graders. The 11th graders must pass this test in order to graduate.
The Commissioner of Education, Michael L. Williams, announced on February 4, 2013, that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) “will not assign accountability ratings for 2012 accreditation statuses” to the more than 1,200 schools for the 2012-2013 school year due to this transition. Superintendent Dr. Lance Hindt said that SMSD will maintain their rating of “Academically Acceptable” however, also due to the transition, Gold Performance indicators are not included this year. Last year, SMSD received two acknowledgements for College-Ready Graduates and Social Studies.
Dr. Hindt offered this statement, “Although SMSD does not support the number of standardized tests the State requires public schools to administer to students in grades 3 through 11, nor do we support 45 days in a 180 day instructional school calendar allocated to some form of standardized testing, we are very proud of the standardized testing gains our students have made since the inception of the TAKS tests. SMSD has seen gains in all tested categories, and in most cases double digit gains, in all sub populations tested. This is a testament to the hard work of our faculty and staff. But we will not be complacent with these gains, we will continue to strive to provide a sound instructional environment that focuses on teaching and learning, enhancing student achievement, every minute of every day. Once fully implemented, SMSD will strive to establish the same gains with the new STAAR test as seen with the old assessment – TAKS.”
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