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

August 5th, 2011
San Marcos CISD meets federal standards; three campuses do not

smcisdnewsSTAFF REPORT

The Texas Education Agency announced this week that San Marcos CISD fulfilled federal government academic progress guidelines, as did six of the district’s nine campuses that were evaluated.

The federal government’s adequate yearly progress (AYP) rating is based on student performance in reading and math, on participation in assessments, and on attendance or graduation rate.

Crockett Elementary, Bowie Elementary, Hernandez Elementary, Mendez Elementary, Goodnight Middle School, and Miller Middle School met AYP but DeZavala Elementary, Travis Elementary and San Marcos High School did not. The two elementary schools missed AYP due to their reading scores. The high school missed AYP due to reading and math scores.

“Federal standards are now higher than state standards by 10 percentage points,” said San Marcos CISD Superintendent Mark E. Eads. “The federal standard for reading is 80 percent to 10 percent above the state’s academically acceptable standard—the same as the state’s recognized standard. The federal standard in math is 75 percent, 10 percentage points above the state’s 65 percent academically acceptable standard.”

Unlike the state accountability system which evaluates performance in reading, math, social studies, and science, the federal accountability system only evaluates performance in reading and math and only in grades 3-8 and grade 10, according to San Marcos CISD Director of School Improvement & Accountability Joy Philpott. Philpott said the state system also evaluates student performance in grades 9 and 11. The federal rating system also evaluates performance of students receiving special education services and English language learners, who comprise a subpopulation not evaluated for state accountability purposes, Philpott said.

“We understand that different students come to us with different needs,” said San Marcos CISD Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Yolanda Almendarez. “It is our job to equip students for success during the time that they are with us and in their future lives. All training that we provide teachers and all resources for students are with student success in mind.”

Schools or districts that miss AYP for two or more years and receive Title I funds face federal sanctions. Title I funds are federal monies allocated to serve low income students. If a Title I school misses AYP for two or more years for the same indicator, it moves into the School Improvement Program. The School Improvement Program categories range from Stage 1, which means a campus or district has missed targets for two years, to Stage 5, which means they have missed targets for six or more years. The sanctions and required interventions increase at each stage.

There are no San Marcos CISD schools in the School Improvement Program.

According to TEA, the preliminary AYP results show 249 districts and 242 schools at some level of school improvement intervention. At Stage 1, school officials must approve a campus improvement plan and give students the option of transferring to another school. By Stage 5, the school must implement a major restructuring, according to TEA.

According to TEA, the most common reason a Texas school missed AYP was its students did not achieve both the required mathematics and reading passing rates. Missing the mathematics performance requirements alone was the second most common reason that a school received a missed AYP label, according to TEA.

According to TEA 5,597 Texas schools, or 66 percent of campuses, met the AYP standards this year. In order to meet AYP, schools and districts must have 80 percent or more of their students in grades 3-8 and grade 10 pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) reading or English language arts test. Additionally, 75 percent of schools and districts must pass the TAKS mathematics test, and they must achieve a 90 percent attendance rate or a 75 percent graduation rate, depending on the grade levels they serve.

“Statewide, our passing rates on the TAKS test largely held steady this year,” said TEA Commissioner of Education Robert Scott. “Those results, coupled with the elimination of Texas Projection Measure and rising federal standards, caused fewer Texas schools to met AYP this year.”

According to TEA, 50 percent of the Texas school districts meet AYP in 2011, compared to 78 percent the previous year.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind law, the AYP standards must reach 100 percent passing on both reading and mathematics assessments by 2014 which requires a substantial increase in ratings standards each year in order to meet this requirement, according to TEA.

In 2010, 73 percent of the Texas students were required to pass the reading/ELA test, while a 67 percent passing rate was needed on the mathematics test in order to met AYP. Seventy-eight percent of the schools met the standards under those criteria and benefited from the use of the now-defunct Texas Projection Measure.

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