Students show mostly sharp gains in STAAR testing across Texas


By dropping hints, especially to promote school board member Rudy Bowles' failed campaign for county judge, EPISD is touting impressive gains in this Spring's STAAR testing.

Officially, EPISD will not be releasing the results of state standardized testing this year until the regular June meeting of school trustees scheduled for June 12, many days after the end of the school year and long after stakeholders have turned their interests to relaxation after a grueling academic year.

The Texas Education Agency sent school districts the STAAR testing results on April 30 and EPISD immediately made these available for political purposes but chose to withhold them from the public until school vacation time. Many school districts across the state made public their local results in May as did the state of Texas as a whole.

Reviewing the statewide results the Eagle Pass News Leader finds generally sharp gains in Reading and Mathematics at the all important 5th and 8th grade levels over the 2017 class of students. At this two grade levels students must pass the STAAR exam to be eligible to advance to the next grade.

In 5th grade Reading statewide 51% passed the exam meeting at least minimum  expectations. This represents a gain of 6% over 2017. Mastering the Reading test were 25% of the 391,795 students tested which was the same as last year. Failing the Reading test were 22% of students tested, an improvement of 7% from 2017, but these will be afforded several more opportinities to pass before having to be retained in 5th grade.

In 5th grade mathematics the 2018 class of students showed an impressive gain of 9% from the year before with 57% of those tested meeting state standards and a 6% gain in mastery with 30% of students tested earning the high marks. Failing the 5th grade mathematics exam were 16% of the 400,342 students tested.

The blip to the positive results occurred in the 8th grade Reading exam where a drop of 1% in the passing rate was recorded. In 2018 46% of students tested met standards as compared to 47% last year. Mastering reading at the 8th grade level were 25% of those tested, a three point improvement over last year's 22%. Failing 8th grade Reading were 24% of those students tested, matching 2017 failures.

In 8th grade Mathematics a 6% gain was registered with 49% meeting standards and 15% mastering the objectives, a 3% increase from last year. Failing the 8th grade Mathematics exam were 22% of the 333,223 students tested statewide.

These statewide results give EPISD stakeholders a preview of what should be expected in local STAAR results to be made public in June. However, with all the politically motivated hype during the just completed county elections the buildup is for much better results.

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