Arlington’s state STAAR testing scores did not dramatically change from last year, with high school students still struggling with the writing sections of the test though they surpassed the statewide passing rates in reading.Secondary English writing is one of the most problematic aspects of the STAAR exam for students, teachers and parents, with only 48 percent of Arlington’s English 1 students making the passing rate, 52 percent passing in English 2, and 36 percent of English 3 students passing.STAAR, or the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test, is given to students in grades 3 through 8 and to secondary students taking high school level courses in the four core subject areas of English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.The scores are in the first phase of a four-year phase-in process that will gradually make tests harder until 2016 when the full recommended levels are reached.Arlington testing director Wally Carter acknowledged that students’ scores on the writing portion of STAAR have surprised and disappointed many students and their parents, but the rigor is at a much higher level than in previous TAKS tests.“At the same time, writing is perhaps your best predictor of college success,” Carter said.Statewide, English 1 students scored a 54.3 percent passing rate in writing, higher than Arlington’s 48 percent mark but down slightly from the spring 2012 score of 52.5 percent. English 2 statewide writing scores were 52.7 percent passing, same as Arlington’s. English 3 statewide level was 42.1 percent passing, several points higher than Arlington’s 36 percent. Arlington high school students taking English 1 scored 84 percent satisfactory in reading, with 79 percent of English 2 students and 91 percent of English 3 students hitting the mark in reading.Statewide, English 1 reading was far lower at 70.1 percent. English 2 reading was close at 78 percent, but Arlington’s English 3 reading score was 91 percent to the state’s 62.8 percent.Arlington high school students’ science scores were also competitive with state scores, with 85 percent passing in biology, 87 percent in chemistry, and 95 percent in physics. Statewide, figures were 88 percent in biology, 83.7 percent in chemistry and 81.8 percent in physics.Arlington students’ math scores in Algebra 1 were 76 percent passing, in geometry they were 83 percent passing, and 98 percent passing in Algebra 2. Statewide math results were 82.1 percent passing in Algebra 1, 86.2 percent in geometry, and 97.1 percent in Algebra 2.In social studies, Arlington high school students had a 76 percent passing rate in world geography, 70 percent in world history, and 67 percent in U.S. history. State passing scores were better, at 80.5 percent in world geography, 70.2 percent in world history, and 74 percent in US history.In elementary and junior high tests, 75 percent of Arlington third-graders scored satisfactory in reading, while 61 percent made the satisfactory math level. Statewide, the scores were and 79.1 in reading and 69.5 in math. Sixty-nine percent of Arlington fourth graders scored satisfactory in reading, 59 percent in math and 67 percent in writing. Statewide, 72.1 percent were passing in reading, 68.3 percent in math, and 70.7 percent in writing.Arlington’s fifth grade cumulative reading score was 84 percent satisfactory, and their math cumulative was 81. Statewide, those figures were 77.1 in reading and 75.1 in math.Fifth grade science students in Arlington scored a 69 percent satisfactory score. The statewide figure was 72.8 percent.Arlington sixth-graders had a 73 percent satisfactory percentage in reading, and a 72 percent satisfactory score in math. Statewide, 71.1 percent passed in reading, and 73.7 in math.Seventh grade had a 77 percent satisfactory percentage in reading, a 61 percent percentage in math and a 71 percent in writing. Statewide, 77.3 percent in reading, 71.4 percent in math and 69.9 percent in writing.Arlington eighth graders beat state rates in all courses. Eighth grade cumulative reading and math scores were 88 percent satisfactory in reading and 85 percent in math. Statewide figures were 83.5 percent passing and 77.2 percent in math.Local eighth graders scored 64 percent satisfactory in social studies and 76 percent in science. Statewide it was 63.4 percent in social studies and 74.8 percent in science.
Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657 Twitter: @shirljinkins