Students taking test

Preliminary results from the spring’s administration of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests indicate a decline in test scores from 2019 across the state.

But leaders from Lewisville ISD caution against reading too much into the scores.

According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) STAAR scores were down across the state, and the percentage of students not meeting the standard increased. Statewide the percentage of students who didn’t meet the standard increased from 25 percent in 2019 to 34 percent this year, according to TEA records. Percentages increased in all subject areas and grade levels except for English I and English II.

The percentage of students who approached the standard (75% to 66%), met the standard (48% to 40%) or mastered the standard (23% to 18%) dropped across the state.

In LISD, the percentage of students who did not meet the standard increased from 2019 to 2021 in all subject areas and grade levels except for the English I and English II end-of-course exam, as well as the fifth-grade Spanish reading and fifth-grade Spanish science.

However, 59 percent or more of the students did not meet the standard in third- and fourth-grade Spanish reading and writing and sixth-grade Spanish writing.

The report states 47 percent of seventh-grade math test takers did not meet the standard, which is up from 26 percent in 2019.

For a breakdown of results click here.

In a district statement LISD officials said they are analyzing the data and will continue to take a more granular look at the information in the coming weeks.

But the district said it uses multiple factors throughout the school year to monitor student learning, with the STAAR test only being one of them.

For example, at the June 14 LISD Board of Trustees meeting, Sarah Fitzhugh, chief executive director of accountability and evaluation, updated the board on various goals and metrics the district continues to use.

She touched on goals tied to House Bill 3 from the 86th Texas Legislature. Examples include third-grade reading, where 86.6 percent of the students met the goal, surpassing the benchmark of 77 percent. In third-grade math, 75.2 percent was the goal, and 78.6 reached the mark.

“It would be a disservice to our students, staff and families for us to draw any overarching conclusions based upon the data we received (Monday),” the district stated of the STAAR scores. “If there is any major take away from this school year, it is that we are so proud of the work of our students and staff to persevere through an extremely challenging year together, regardless of the obstacles we faced.”

The district also said comparing data to past years can be misleading since 2021 was not a typical year. For example, students were given the option to opt out of the test, which decreased the number of tests administered, thus causing more drastic swings in percentages.

Also, fifth- and eighth-graders only took their tests once, whereas they have been allowed in previous years to take it twice.

The district also pointed out that this was the first opportunity for fourth-graders to take the STAAR test. Because the pandemic prevented the test from being administered in 2020 those fourth graders did not have the chance to take it as third-graders like they normally would have.

The district said it has taken steps to address any learning gaps that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In a proactive effort to address learning gaps and meet student needs, LISD provided summer learning opportunities to students requiring additional educational support,” the district stated.

According to the TEA, districts with a higher percentage of students learning virtually experienced a greater degree of STAAR test score decline. It said districts with a higher percentage of in-person students “largely avoided any learning declines in reading.”

“When students come into Texas public schools they are well-served by Texas educators – a fact that these scores confirm,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.

Morath said school districts and policy makers can use the data to make plans for moving forward. He encouraged parents to visit texasassessments.gov for a more in-depth look at the data. He also touted HB 4545, which allows parents of high-performing students who took the test to access high-performing teachers and receive additional tutoring.

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