La Porte ISD has seen a significant increase in the number of students who met the standard on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) mathematics and reading tests, according to a report on results presented to the LPISD Board of Trustees at its April 27 workshop meeting.
"We have meaningful increases at both the fifth- and eighth-grade levels," said Linda Wadleigh, deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
Wadleigh explained that the percentages of the "all students" group that passed the fifth- and eighth-grade math and reading tests this year are all at the "Recognized" level or above. This means that 80 percent or more of the students taking the test met the standard set by the Texas Education Agency.
In addition, Wadleigh noted marked increases when comparing both grade level scores (for example, this year's fifth graders to last year's fifth graders) and cohort groups (this year's fifth graders to last year's fourth graders).
In fifth-grade math, 91 percent of this year's fifth graders met the standard, up from 86 percent of the fifth graders who passed the test last year. In addition, the percentage of students who met the standard increased from 87 percent when they were fourth graders in 2009.
Eighth-grade math scores follow a similar trend. Eighty-four percent of this year's eighth graders met the standard on the TAKS math test, compared with 79 percent of the eighth graders last year. As last year's seventh graders, 81 percent passed the test.
In reading, 90 percent of this year's fifth graders met the standard, compared with 87 percent of last year's fifth graders and 87 percent of last year's fourth graders. The percentage of eighth graders meeting the standard for math remained at the Exemplary level (94 percent to 93 percent) from 2009 to 2010; in addition, the percentage of eighth graders passing the test increased from 85 percent in seventh grade last year.
Moreover, all accountability subgroups-all students, African American, Hispanic, White/Non-Hispanic and Economically Disadvantaged-performed at the Recognized level or higher in fifth grade testing, Wadleigh said.
David Knowles, executive director for secondary education, added that these reading and math tests are part of the Student Success Initiative, noting guidelines for determining Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In addition, students in the fifth and eighth grades must pass these TAKS tests in order to progress to the next grade level. Other opportunities to take the tests will be offered in May and June.
Teacher effectiveness, combined with a fully aligned curriculum, contributed to the students' success, said Isela Montes, executive director for elementary education.
District officials also noted that the number of students who still need to pass the exit-level TAKS test, which is required for high school graduation, has been greatly reduced at both La Porte High School and DeWalt School since last year. Students have the opportunity to take the exit-level test several times, with another test administration offered this week.
TAKS testing in other grade levels and subject areas is taking place April 27 through 30.
"I believe that these results are a harbinger of good things to come, but even more so, they are indicative of the quality of the adults that this district has placed in conjunction with our students," said Lloyd W. Graham, LPISD superintendent of schools. "When students are privileged to study with teachers and staff of this caliber, we may be at peace with our outcomes, whatever they may be. I am proud to work with these professionals each and every day, and I am cautiously optimistic about what our fifth-grade, eighth-grade and exit-level scores indicate."