It gives me great pleasure to report that Richardson ISD’s 2005-06 TAKS results are some of the highest in our history. Through diligent planning, focused allocation of resources, and extremely hard work, student scores have experienced dramatic gains in some areas and continued steady improvement in others. My personal thanks go out to our teachers, students, and administrators for pulling together and truly working as a team.
Some of you may have read an article in last weekend’s Dallas Morning News citing a consultant’s report which raises potential questions about “irregular” test results at hundreds of schools across Texas. The report, based on statistical analysis of the 2004-2005 test results, was prepared on behalf of the Texas Education Agency, and included some RISD campuses. The assertion appears to be that these campuses showed higher student test score gains than prior years’ results would have predicted.
In a letter to districts explaining the report, Texas Commissioner of Education Shirley Neeley cautioned that schools mentioned in the report have not necessarily done anything improper, but that the report could serve as a catalyst for districts to take a closer look at the testing procedures used at those campuses. I have asked commissioner Neeley to provide us with information on how the conclusions were drawn so that we can understand their results.
Regarding the report, let me state unequivocally that RISD is comfortable, beyond any reasonable doubt, that our scores are the result of strong instructional leadership, highly effective teaching, and students who came to school motivated to learn. We as a district have no reason whatsoever to believe anything otherwise. We have stringent testing security in place at all times, and thoroughly examine any perceived irregularities that may arise.
The manner in which the report is being perceived or presented by some in the Metroplex is frankly irresponsible, and is dismissive of the year-long work and dedication of hundreds of teachers and thousands of students. We are asked to find better ways to teach, we do, and then we are criticized for doing such a good job. This makes no sense.
Our work as a district is by no means complete, nor have we achieved everything we hope to achieve. Much work remains, especially in the areas of reducing current gaps in achievement levels of specific student populations. That stated, I am proud of our professional educators, paraprofessionals, volunteers and community partners for their supreme efforts in working towards a common goal. We are on track to be Recognized as a district for the first time. Official ratings are released by TEA on August 1.
Let me again congratulate everyone in our community for creating an environment for student improvement or achievement. As a district, we will never stop striving for excellence so that every student can know success.