HOUSTON - Sept. 14, 2012 - Texas school districts statewide, including Spring Independent School District, recently received ratings under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. These federal ratings, which are referred to as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), are based on results of the new State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR), which was used for the first time in 2012 for grades three through eight. (Tenth graders took the old Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) due to the implementation plan for STAAR.) The state chose not to set accountability standards and assign ratings for this first implementation of STAAR, however, the federal accountability system, which increases its standards every year, used the test scores from this more complex, lengthy and time-driven assessment to rate schools and districts.
“Historically, every time a new accountability test is introduced, schools and districts experience a dip in scores and ratings. Each time the state changes the test, and there have been several over the years - including the more recent TAKS and TAAS, time is needed to prepare students for taking the new test,” said Dr. Ralph H. Draper, Spring ISD superintendent.
Only 28 percent of Texas school districts met the increasingly, more rigorous AYP standards, which are rated either met or missed. Spring ISD met the standards in all student groups for participation, graduation rate and attendance rate, despite an overall rating of missed AYP.
Under this federal school accountability system, this year a school or district met AYP requirements if 87 percent or more of their students and student groups passed the state reading/English language arts test; 83 percent of their students passed the state mathematics test; 95 percent of their students participated in the state testing program and, depending on the grade level, had either a 75 percent graduation rate or a 90 percent attendance rate.
According to a Texas Education Agency news release, “No state ratings are being issued this summer because the accountability system must be retooled to use results of the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR). The state’s request to use a similar approach with the federal system and carry over the 2011 AYP ratings into 2012 as the state transitions to the new testing program was denied by the U.S. Department of Education.”
By 2014, under the current structure of the No Child Left Behind Act, all school districts will be required to achieve passing rates of 100 percent for all student groups on the mathematics and reading tests, which means districts will face increasingly steep requirements each year now through 2014. In addition, if one student group fails, the entire campus fails, and if a student group fails across the district, the entire district fails.
Dr. Dalane Bouillion, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said the district began in July 2011 embedding the new college and career readiness standards throughout the curriculum at all grade levels to better prepare students for post-graduation and increased its focus on that process this summer.
“The district has conducted comprehensive, strategic planning to ensure that all components of the curriculum are aligned to these more complex standards and that teachers have the resources available to them to facilitate the learning process,” Bouillion said.
Spring ISD schools that met AYP for 2011-12 are Dekaney High School, Anderson Elementary School and Northgate Crossing Elementary School. Schools that were not evaluated for AYP are Gloria Marshall Elementary School and the Early College Academy at Southridge due to being open only one year, and Clark Primary because prekindergarten through second-grade levels are not accountable in AYP. Carl Wunsche Sr. High School is not a campus of accountability because its students’ scores are reported among the district’s three comprehensive high schools: Dekaney, Spring and Westfield.
Spring ISD schools are including targeted intervention and improvement activities in Campus Improvement Plans (CIP) to help teachers continue transitioning to this new assessment and accountability system.
“We are indentifying the learning standards where students need additional support and providing either additional time within or outside the school day to provide focused small-group intervention in order to support the student’s learning,” Bouillion said.
Examples of intervention activities include Saturday school, before- and after-school programs, tutoring and block scheduling within the school day to allow more time spent on specific projects.
For more information about AYP, visit the TEA website at www.tea.state.tx.us/ayp.