Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
The Texas Education Agency released its new accountability ratings on Thursday, and all Orange County school districts have met the new standard on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.
Texas schools in 2012-2013 went without ratings and now defunct are the usual categories which rated schools and districts from “academically unacceptable” to “exemplary.”
According to the Associated Press, the new system, which was announced in April, looks at four areas of student success including student achievement, student progress, performance gap closures and post-secondary readiness.
According to the TEA’s website, districts and campuses with students in ninth grade and above must meet all four indicators, while districts and campuses with students in eighth grade or lower must meet three, excluding post-secondary readiness.
The Bridge City Independent School District and all four of its campuses met standard. The district had the highest scores in the county in three of the four index areas, including scores of 82 in student achievement, 78 in closing performance gaps and 88 in postsecondary readiness. Bridge City ISD scored a 34 in student progress, the second highest score in the county.
“We are extremely proud of our students and staff on the overall performance of this initial assessment,” said Mike King, Bridge City ISD superintendent. “We are grateful for their hardwork and commitment during this process.”
The Orangefield Independent School District met standard as did all three of its campuses. The district received scores of 79 in student achievement, 35 in student progress, which was the highest score in this category in the county, 74 in closing performance gaps and 84 in postsecondary readiness.
“This gives us a baseline for continued improvement toward our goals for providing a better education to our students,” said Dr. Stephen Patterson, superintendent of Orangefield ISD. “We are pleased with the results and with our students and staff.”
The Little Cypress-Mauriceville Consolidated Independent School District met standard as did all six of its campuses. The district received scores of 78 in student achievement, 33 in student progress, 65 in closing performance gaps and 87 in postsecondary readiness.
“The accountability ratings are one of the tools we use to measure the effectiveness of our district and the success of our students,” said Dr. Pauline Hargrove, LC-M CISD superintendent. “We are extremely pleased with the results and greatly appreciate the outstanding work of our students, parents, and faculty and staff.”
The Vidor Independent School District met standard as did all seven of its campuses. The district received scores of 74 in student achievement, 31 in student progress, 65 in closing performance gaps and 82 in postsecondary readiness.
“We are happy we met all standards. (The superintendents of the county) are all of a like mind that we like the new accountability system better than the last,” said Dr. Jay Killgo, Vidor ISD superintendent. “Especially since we are not penalized for our lowest test area. It’s providing a bench mark and now we have a baseline for what we need to work with in the future.”
The West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District met standard as did all three of its campuses. The district received scores of 56 in student achievement, 33 in student progress, 55 in closing performance gaps and 84 in postsecondary readiness.
“Although we are happy that our district met all of the state standards, we recognize that, at the campus level, we still have room for tremendous growth,” said James Colbert, West Orange-Cove CISD superintendent. “As we become more acquainted with the new accountability system and continue to improve our instructional quality, I am confident that the West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District will continue showing significant improvement.”
STAAR standardized test scores make up the first of four indexes to a school’s rating. The others include student progress on those tests, the school’s pace in closing the performance gap for disadvantaged kids and the student’s readiness for life after high school by looking at graduation rates and scores on college placement tests.
Schools and districts will no longer receive the exemplary, recognized, academically acceptable and academically unacceptable ratings, which school administrators complained were unfairly based solely on test scores. For now districts and schools will have either “met standard,” ‘’met alternative standard” or “improvement required.”
The state rated 1,228 districts and 8,555 schools, including charter schools and alternative education programs. About 95 percent of public school districts and 79.7 percent of charter operators met the standard.