San Marcos CISD took a big leap forward last week, when the Texas Education Agency (TEA) accountability ratings placed the school district in “recognized” status.
The San Marcos district vaulted to the second highest rating from last year’s ranking of “academically unacceptable,” which is the lowest ranking.
Even though all of the San Marcos CISD were at least ranked “academically acceptable last year,” the district, as a whole, was ranked as unacceptable because it graduated only 74.5 percent of its economically disadvantaged students within four years of their entering high school. A graduation rate of 75 percent would have made the school district “academically acceptable.”
This year, San Marcos CISD made all of its graduation requirements and registered double-digit gains in mathematics among African-American, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students to climb in the rankings.
“We commend our students, faculty, administrators, and staff for their commitment and effort in moving the district forward,” San Marcos CISD Superintendent Patty Shafer said. “We conducted a community sweep last fall to bring students who had not completed high school back to school and saw our completion rate rise to above 90 percent for all groups. Students, teachers, and administrators have worked diligently to improve performance in core academic areas, and these efforts have been rewarded.”
Across the school district, students reached the “exemplary” standard of 90 percent meeting the standard on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) in writing and social studies. The school district also reached the recognized standard of 80 percent in mathematics by hitting 81 percent and the same standard in reading with 88 percent. The district also improved across all subgroups from 70 percent to 75 percent in science. Every subgroup improved or stayed even in reading, social studies and mathematics, but every subgroup declined in writing.
The leading subgroup across the school district was white students, with 95 percent meeting the standard in reading and language arts, 93 percent reaching it in writing, 91 percent in mathematics and 90 percent in science. Compared with their performance from a year ago, white students declined three percent in writing, declined by one percentage point in science, and improved one percent in mathematics.
African-American students across the district improved from 77 percent passage to 88 percent in mathematics, the largest percentage point improvement for any subgroup in any subject across the district. African-American students also improved from 82 percent to 85 percent in reading and language arts, but declined from 66 percent to 63 percent in science.
Hispanic students were up from 62 percent to 70 percent in science across the district, while they also improved from 71 percent to 78 percent in mathematics, from 89 percent to 92 percent in social studies and from 83 percent to 85 percent in reading. But Hispanic students were down from 92 percent to 90 percent in writing.
Economically disadvantaged students were up from 59 percent to 67 percent in science, 69 percent to 75 percent in mathematics, 88 to 91 percent in social studies, and 80 percent to 83 percent in reading. But economically disadvantaged down from 92 percent to 87 percent in writing.
At San Marcos High School, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students improved in all categories. Both of those subgroups improved by 13 percentage points in mathematics, with Hispanic students going from 51 percent passage to 64 percent passage and economically disadvantaged students going from 46 percent to 59 percent. African-American students improved their passage rate in mathematics by 12 points from 47 percent to 59 percent as the high school, in total, improved from 60 percent to 70 percent passage in mathematics.
Across the district, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged subgroups were, by far, the largest partitions among students taking the reading test, which was the test most taken. Of 4,415 students who took the TAKS reading and language arts examinations, 3,054 (69 percent) were Hispanic, 1,087 (25 percent) were white and 243 (six percent) were African-American. Economically disadvantaged students accounted for 2,864 (65 percent) of the students taking the test.
At San Marcos High School, Hispanic students improved from 82 percent to 85 percent in reading, from 90 percent to 93 percent in social studies, and from 62 percent to 68 percent in science. Economically disadvantaged students improved from 78 percent to 83 percent in reading and language arts, from 90 percent to 92 percent in social studies and from 57 percent to 63 percent in science.
African-American students at San Marcos High School improved from 79 percent passage to 85 percent passage in reading and language arts, and from 90 percent to 90 percent in social studies, but they declined from 60 percent passage to 55 percent in science.
Bowie Elementary School and Crockett Elementary Schools each won overall ratings of “exemplary.” The schools given the “recognized” rating were Goodnight Middle School, De Zavala Elementary School and Hernandez Elementary School. San Marcos High School, Miller Middle School and Mendez Elementary School were rated “academically acceptable.”
Among the other public school districts in Hays County, Dripping Springs ISD and Wimberley ISD both were ranked as recognized, while Hays CISD was academically acceptable. The only high school in Hays County to win the exemplary rating was Dripping Springs High School. No school in Hays County was rated lower than academically acceptable.
Of 1,164 Texas school districts ranked by non-alternative criteria, a majority of 597 received the recognized rating. Another 298 were ranked academically acceptable, 239 were ranked exemplary and 30 were academically unacceptable.