San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

June 8th, 2010
TAKS scores rise overall, SMCISD officials say

by SCOTT THOMAS
The Mercury Staff

San Marcos CISD saw overall test scores rise in the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skill, according to preliminary results released by the state.

The TAKS data are still unofficial, but the numbers in their current state show grade five improving in all subjects for all subpopulations. In most cases, score rose by five percentage points or higher, according to Joy Philpott, director of Accountability & School Improvement.

In a written statement, the school district called the increases “dramatic.”

“It was a lot of hard work last summer (preparing for TAKS), it feels like the efforts really paid off,” Philpott said.

School officials attributed the positive results in grade five to a transformed classroom settings for the students.

The school district is now comprised of six elementary campuses that include grade five. Previously, the district was made up of four elementary campuses and one intermediate campus, which included all fifth and six graders. In a statement released by the school, officials said the fifth graders were able to better learn in the smaller, more structured setting of the elementary campus’s classrooms.

School officials also noted in their official statement that Reading/ELA, writing, and social studies remain strong in the district. Furthermore, they stated in the release that math scores in some grade levels and subpopulations met or exceeded the reading scores, and science scores continue to improve.

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4 thoughts on “TAKS scores rise overall, SMCISD officials say

  1. What about the high school? Nobody has ever disputed the quality of the elementary schools and frankly, I am tired of hearing the performance of those elementary schools touted, as though that is all we have in San Marcos.

    Unfortunately, nobody goes from 5th grade to college, nor do they go from 5th grade to a meaningful career.

    According to the TEA website, the schools for our high school were fundamentally unchanged, for the 2008/2009 school year, where we ranked below the state average in all categories, with only 69% of students passing the science portion of the test, compared to 78% statewide and 62% passing math, compared to 82% statewide!

    Appallingly, only 57% passed all tests, compared to 74% statewide.

    Considering the state has recently recognized that our high schools, in general, are not keeping up with those in the rest of the state, can we really afford to be applauding and patting ourselves on the backs, over these improvements at the FIFTH GRADE LEVEL, when we continue to lag well behind the rest of the state, when it comes to high school?

    What do the preliminary results show for our high school? Was the 2009/10 year substantially better? My money says probably not, or it would have been mentioned.

    We owe our residents and their children more than a 5th grade education!

  2. I tend to agree with Ted.

    The reason they do well on the TAKS is they do nothing but the TAKS for months on end.

    The main focus on our 3rd grader’s classroom this year was the TAKS and once it was complete they resorted to marathon movie watching and general frolicking. She watched (I watched 4 of them with them when volunteering) more than 10 major motion picture movies in classes this year. That is over 20 hours of nothing but Disney type movie watching. It may have been more but we lost count. We could understand if they were movies about science or literature and had some educational basis but these are usually movies directed towards adults as well as kids and involve a great deal of “mating” rituals and other inappropriate behaviors for 3rd graders in general.

    We just believe that there should be no more than one Hollywood movie a year in any of their classes and more emphasis put on educational activities that could also be interpreted as a “break” for them from the regular curriculum. However, the regular curriculum might only be TAKS testing preparation and delivery. A scarey thought but one that explains the increased TAKS scores but kids graduating or not graduating generally illiterate about many basic skills.

    We intend to take this up with the school administrators and the school board.

  3. I meant to say that the state recently recognized that our (Texas) high schools are not keeping up with the rest of the *country*.

    Trying to do too many things at once, I guess.

    Thanks for sharing my concerns, Lynny.

  4. L.Moore- I just want to clarify some things. Your statement “they do nothing but TAKS for months on end” is correct, but you use the wrong terminology. The state sets TEKS (Tx Essential Knowledge and Skills), which are objectives that must be taught in each grade level. For example, a 3rd grade math TEK might read “The student is expected to use place value to compare and order whole numbers through 9,999” The TEKS make up the curriculum. That’s TEKS.

    Now TAKS (Tx Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) is the test that the state developed to assess students’ mastery of those TEKS. So, the students wouldn’t be “doing” the TAKS all year round, but the teacher is responsible for teaching those TEKS that will be tested. So, really, you should be concerned if you don’t see a teacher teaching the TEKS that will be tested on the TAKS.

    TAKS was created to assess students, but probably most important , to ‘close the gap’ between different ethnic, economic, and gender groups. Teachers, schools and districts need to prove to the taxpayers that ALL students are receiving equal instruction. So this test was the means to measure that.

    Also, a lot of money hinges on how well the students do on this test. Districts can lose money OR Superintendents and Principals get bonuses for good scores (No, I didn’t forget to mention teachers; they don’t get a bonus, but you bet they feel the pressure from above…)

    Hope this helps.

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