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STAAR test awards distinctions to 83 percent of RISD campuses, district meets standard despite ongoing changes of year-to-year comparisons
 
Richardson ISD students continue faring well against their peers throughout Texas with 83 percent of RISD campuses earning at least one distinction from the Texas Education Agency, based on 2016-17 STAAR Exam information released today. Overall, the district achieved a Met Standard rating.

The TEA designates campus distinctions by comparing performance of an individual school to a grouping of 40 similar campuses throughout Texas. A top-10 performance within that comparison group earns the distinction.

Among the 83-percent of RISD campuses earning distinctions, four—Richardson High School, Arapaho Classical Magnet, Brentfield Elementary, and Math, Science, Technology Magnet—earned all eligible distinctions. Additionally, 83 percent of eligible schools earned social studies distinctions, 60 percent earned science distinctions and 56 percent were designated for postsecondary readiness.

However, while RISD remains solid in its testing performance, comparing results from year-to-year has become more challenging due to annual changes in the STAAR test. Since being introduced in 2012, STAAR has not been administered the same way for two years in a row.

“Our students continue performing well against others in similar settings throughout the state,” said Dr. Jeannie Stone, RISD superintendent. “There are several key contributors to that continued success—our students, teachers, parents, community members—and we are proud of all the work. But test scores alone don’t mark the success of students or districts.”

Stone says measuring success has become a moving target while the state changes passing standards and eliminates tests from one year to the next.

“Straight comparisons from year-to-year cannot be made,” she explained. “Accommodations are removed, student groups are tested in different ways with different measures and applications, and all this muddies the waters when trying to help our kids. We cannot accurately assess the areas our students have improved and continue with those initiatives that are working, just like we can’t dig into student performance decline and make better those avenues to reach more kids.”

TEA officials said there is no apples-to-apples comparison between 2016-17 STAAR scores. As a result, RISD will use 2017 results as baseline for coming years

Some of the changes in the 2016-17 version of STAAR were brought on for learning disabled students and those who are still learning the English language. Tests were eliminated for those two groups and the new results were part of the overall scoring structure with no accommodation for the day-to-day curriculum used to teach these student groups.

Despite those challenges, student growth was notable in three particular areas. Sixty-two percent of RISD learners either met or exceeded established growth levels in reading or math, and 57 percent performed at college-ready levels on two or more tests.

“We will continue reviewing best practices and provide ongoing training to our teachers, coach them and listen to their needs,” Stone said. “Everyone in this district wants to ensure each one of our students are successful and none fall through the cracks.”
     
 
 
 
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Richardson, Texas 75081
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