Accountability ratings show mixed results

08/12/2014 10:34 AM

08/12/2014 10:35 AM

The Keller school district “Met Standard” in the state accountability ratings released Friday by the Texas Education Agency, but two out of 39 campuses — Heritage Elementary and Parkview Elementary — fell under the “Improvement Required” heading based on student progress.

Northwest school district also met standard and had two elementary schools requiring improvement: Hughes Elementary and Seven Hills Elementary.

For the second consecutive year, school districts across Tarrant County met the state’s accountability standards, but 37 schools failed to meet the benchmark, according to results released Friday.

School districts, individual campuses and charter schools received "met standard" or "improvement required" ratings under the accountability system. Statewide, about 90 percent of school districts and 85 percent of schools received passing marks, according to the Texas Education Agency.

Charlie Carroll, Keller’s chief academic officer, said there were few surprises in the accountability results.

“We knew we were going to have campuses decline, but it’s a more accurate score than last year because there were groups left out that are now included,” Carroll said.

School districts and schools also received special distinctions for academic achievement.

"Texans should be pleased to see the vast majority of districts, charters and campuses are meeting the standards set in the second year of the state accountability system," said Commissioner of Education Michael Williams.

Among the area schools that received "improvement required" ratings, 24 are from the Fort Worth district, four are from Arlington, three are from Crowley, and two each are from the Keller and Northwest districts.

In student progress, the ratings now take into account English Language Learners and modified and alternate STAAR tests for select special education students.

Campus and district scores declined slightly in closing achievement gaps, although the state standards were met.

Carroll said that officials can’t really compare last year with this year or this year with next year because of the phase in process.

This year’s ratings are part of a multiyear phase-in process, which makes judging the results complicated, educators say.

“Until we get done with phasing in, we’re not comparing apples to apples and it’s very confusing to try to draw comparisons,” he said.

Carroll said he was pleasantly surprised by the number of distinctions earned by KISD campuses. Sixteen earned one or more distinctions for advanced performance in core subjects, student progress, closing performance gaps and postsecondary readiness.

Last year, Basswood Elementary missed the mark in student progress; this year Basswood met standard and earned a distinction for being in the top 25 percent for closing achievement gaps.

Five campuses earned multiple distinctions: Hillwood Middle School received four; Bear Creek Intermediate and North Riverside Elementary, three; and Parkwood Hill Intermediate and South Keller Intermediate, two.

Central and Fossil Ridge high schools received distinctions for being in the top 25 percent of schools in closing achievement gaps. Keller High School received a distinction for postsecondary readiness.

Northwest had seven campuses with distinctions, four of those with multiple awards: Steele Accelerated High School had four, Hatfield and Cox Elementary schools had three each and Beck Elementary had two.

Northwest school district Superintendent Karen Rue, along with several area superintendents, described the ratings as just one tool that can be used to track student achievement.

"Our students distinguish themselves throughout the year in all areas of academics and achievement — at regional, state and national levels," said Rue. "The scores are one source of information to use in planning for student success."

Staff writers Diane Smith, Monica Nagy and Robert Cadwallader contributed to this report, which contains information from Star-Telegram archives.

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