The Texas Education Agency (TEA) released official results of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exam. Tomball ISD students performed well on the exam.
"I am proud of the hard work and progress our students are making on the STAAR exam," Superintendent Huey Kinchen said. "Our scores are very strong, but we have identified some challenges and we are working to make improvements."
Since the implementation of the STAAR test two years ago, TEA established new passing standards. All districts must meet four index score requirements measuring overall student achievement, student progress in math, reading, and writing, and improvements among students who are economically disadvantaged and of racial/ethnic backgrounds.
The fourth index measures college readiness for high school students. This is based on graduation rates and the percentage of students who graduated under the recommended/distinguished high school plans during the previous school year.
Tomball ISD's Director of Accountability Dr. Randy Reedy explained that the district met all of the index score requirements.
"The new score requirements can help us specifically target areas of improvement and determine if an area of weakness is a district wide concern or isolated to an individual campus," he said.
Reedy explained that the writing scores were low district wide, but that they were also low across the state. He stressed that the writing portion of the exam received the most changes compared to other portions of the test, which, he said, resulted in lower scores. The new exam required two writing samples; in the past, students were only required to complete one sample.
Dr. Joan Slater, director of English language arts/social studies, explained that it may have been burdensome for students to sit for a longer period of time when completing the writing samples. She stressed that new strategies have been implemented to help improve writing scores.
"In preparation for the test in the spring, we are providing additional staff development for teachers and additional time during the school day for students who have targeted writing needs," Slater said.