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


by BRAD ROLLINS

San Marcos CISD students met state averages in two of five tests administered to mostly ninth graders and exceeded them in another, according to a first glimpse of STAAR testing data released by the school district. They fell below state averages on two other end-of-course exams, writing and biology.

After being criticized last week in an opinion piece on this website for declining to release information about San Marcos students’ performance on the new standardized test, Superintendent Mark Eads gave percentage scores for five end-of-course exams on Friday to the San Marcos daily newspaper.

Eads did not release raw scores which would have indicated what percentage of students failed the exams under current standards and would have failed them under a set of escalating future standards for STAAR, an acronym for State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.

On the World Geography end-of-course exam, San Marcos students answered an average of 86 percent of questions correctly, five percentage points better than the state average of 81 percent. On the English I Reading and Algebra I exams, San Marcos students performed exactly as well as students did statewide, answering 68 percent and 83 percent of questions correctly, respectively.

On the English I Writing exam, however, San Marcos students scored an average of 45 percent, ten points fewer than the statewide average of 55 percent. On the biology exam, San Marcos students answered an average of 84 percent of questions correctly, 3 percent less than the state average of 87.

For the most part, the released percentage scores involve ninth graders, but older or younger students enrolled in one of the 15 courses covered by the end-of-courseexams were also tested.

San Marcos CISD has not released any test score data for grades three through eight.

In addition, the school district did not release raw scores which would have showed how many students failed the test. For the high school-level end-of-course exams, Texas Education Agency has published current pass-fail thresholds and what those standards will be when the test is fully implemented.

The Texas Education Agency expects to release more data on district-level test results at some point next month, agency spokesperson DeEtta Culbertson said, but she was not sure if that release would include scores for third through eighth grades.

Students must meet both a cumulative test score across 15 end-of-course exams and pass a certain number of individual test before they can graduate high school. Under current law, the exam scores also make up 15 percent of the students final grade in a given course but some key lawmakers have signaled strongly that they intend to do away with that aspect of STAAR.

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4 thoughts on “Initial STAAR results are mixed bag for San Marcos CISD

  1. Thanks for the update. It is good to see us above the state average in some areas. Looking forward to nore detailed breakouts to show the percentage of students scoring above or below average, how many would pass/fail, etc., but it is good to get an initial look. I’m glad Mr. Eads reconsidered his decision.

  2. I care far less about how we compare to state averages than I do the raw numbers state-wide. It is very disturbing to read that only 68% of our students state-wide can read English at an acceptable level and even worse, that only 55% can write it.

  3. I agree. Schools in Texas have been behind the curve for as long as I can remember. That’s why being below average in the state is so troubling. This appears to be evidence of progress for San Marcos, and I’ll take that. I’m still looking for a lot more improvement.

  4. There might be a bit of incorrect information in the statement that “San Marcos students performed exactly as well as students did statewide, answering 68 percent and 83 percent of questions correctly, respectively.”

    When you look at the report for Algebra I, http://www.tea.state.tx.us/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifier=id&ItemID=2147507164&libID=2147507155, it shows that 83% of all the students who took the test met the “Satisfactory” level (passed). NOT that 83% of the questions were answered correctly.

    The columns in the far right of the report show that, on average, 56-60% of the questions were answered correctly.

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