- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas middle school students didn’t perform as well on state standardized tests this year as they did in 2016, concerning some education policy experts.

The percentage of students who passed the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness this spring was lower in all subjects except for math when compared with last year’s results, the Austin American-Statesman (https://atxne.ws/2tE5837 ) reported.

Many Austin-area school districts said they haven’t analyzed the data and can’t draw conclusions about the scores yet.

“As always, this is just one way we measure how our schools are doing,” Austin Independent School District officials said in a statement. “We will continue to focus on the whole child as we equip them with the skills for success in college, career and life.”

Theresa Trevino is president of parent group Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment. Her group wants more grade-appropriate tests and an end to a policy holding students back a grade for not passing the assessment, she said.

“This has me concerned that we are testing how well a student takes a test rather than the knowledge that they know, and that’s been our concern all along with the STAAR test,” Trevino said.

Policy consultant Sandy Kress said that an inconsistent school accountability system contributes to the lackluster scores. She said more resources and collaboration between education stakeholders will improve student performance.

Drew Scheberle, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce senior vice president for education and policy, said the Legislature’s cuts to programs such as the Student Success Initiative, which helps struggling students in small groups, has negatively impacted students.

“The first round of results of the STAAR test are disappointing, but indicative of what happens when commitment to academic standards and transformative education are lowered,” Scheberle said.


Information from: Austin American-Statesman, https://www.statesman.com

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