By BOBBY HORN JR.
EAST HARRIS COUNTY A report issued by the Texas Education Agency last week found that the Crosby, Goose Creek and Huffman school districts were academically acceptable.
The accountability report was based on Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests conducted at each campus.
In addition to being acceptable district wide, the high school, middle school and intermediate schools were found acceptable.
To reach this level, a campus must have a 65% passage rate in reading social science and writing, 45% in math and 40% in science. A 75% passage rate earns recognized status while those exceeding 90% are exemplary. Not only much campuses reach these passage rates overall but each of the subgroups: African American, Hispanic, White and Economically Disadvantaged must also.
District superintendent Mike Joseph said that he was pleasantly surprised with the report.
He noted that while the average passage rate at the high school for math and science is 65% and 66% respectively, they are higher than the state average of 60%.
It is very difficult to get these numbers over 75%, he said. Thats why you wont see many high schools in Texas becoming recognized.
Overall, Joseph said, the district saw improvement in 95 areas, with 31 areas falling and five areas remaining the same.
Crosby High showed mixed results with improvement in math and science but a drop in the percentage of students passing the reading test. At the middle school the average passage rate was recognized level, but they missed on the subgroups.
Despite improvements in reading and math, Drew saw a drop in science that hurt their overall scores.
Newport Elementary and Barrett Primary stood out as exemplary. Both schools saw improvements across the board with Barrett showing a double-digit improvement in its math scores.
Joseph said that both the middle and intermediate school were just a few students away from being recognized campuses.
This years goal, he added, was to make sure that Crosby was at or above the state average on each test.
State tests show that Highlands students performed better.
Highlands Junior School, Highlands Elementary and Harlem Elementary all made recognized. Hopper students were groups with Highlands Elementary.
At the junior school, students averaged in high 80s with math passage rate getting into the 90% range. Despite a drop in writing scores, Highlands Elementary was also in the high 80s. At Harlem, the school saw across the board improvements.
Dr. Doug Killian, superintendent of Huffman ISD, saw this years ranking as both a positive step and a call for improvements. All four campuses earned acceptable rankings.
Killian pointed out that efforts to help special education students at the high school paid off with the school dropping the unacceptable rating it was given last year.
However, he would have like to see more of the campuses reach the recognized level. Despite across the board improvements at each campus, Killian said that they fell just short of the goal. We were just a few students from getting recognized at some of the campuses, he said. Killian said that he is especially proud of the districts success in science and math, two subjects that have hurt schools statewide.
As teachers receive more training, he said, parents could expect better results from students. It takes more than one year to prepare students for these tests, he said. You just cant teach TAKS preparation and expect to do well.
He noted that he would like to see more success on the exit level tests, or the test required by every high school senior to graduate. We need to have every student walk across that stage.
By BOBBY HORN JR.