Plano ISD outpacing state STAAR results
The public was given its first look at Plano ISD's STAAR and end-of-course exam results at Tuesday's school board meeting, with local students outpacing those across the state in all content areas.
While districts received raw scores in July, passing standards were not sent until two weeks ago, and final test results were received by Plano ISD about 10 days ago, said Dash Weerasinghe, executive director of assessment and accountability.
Last year, students in grades 3-8 were administered reading, math, writing, science and social studies STAAR tests. Ninth-graders took end-of-course exams in Algebra I, Geometry, Biology, Reading I, Writing I and World Geography.
The percentage of Plano students meeting satisfactory rates exceeded the state's numbers at all grade levels, subjects and student population groups. The percentage of students meeting advanced rates also exceeded those of the state.
"The end game is to get those kids through end-of-course exams, and I think as you saw, our passing rate on the end-of-course exam, we did have some accelerated learning," said Superintendent Richard Matkin. "... Still, what we hate is those who didn't pass this first round are really going to be faced with a challenge looking down on two years of exams."
The lowest area of performance for both Plano ISD and the state was writing, a fact that Trustee Missy Bender said surprised many. Weerasinghe said this was a result of the Phase 1 standard -- state recommended standards won't kick in until 2016 -- being more rigorous in writing than other subjects.
"They can't go back and change the standard, so we'll just have to have a lot more instruction and acceleration to do with these students," he said. "But hopefully the next cohort of students ... when they go to ninth grade, they will get the Phase-In 2 standard. That will be much more equivalent to the other subject areas."
About 1,100 students retook at least one end-of-course exam in either July or April, Weerasinghe said.
Trustee David Stolle said while Plano students continue to excel in state-mandated tests, they are being tested "to death," and parents should contact legislators to demand relief.
"This is unbelievable amount of data -- and it's fantastic data -- but it's coming from an unbelievable amount of testing," he said. "You have to question whether it's really, truly beneficial to these kids."
Cumulative Plano ISD end-of-course exam results, 2012
Algebra I: 97 percent satisfactory, 43 percent advanced
Geometry: 100 percent satisfactory, 64 percent advanced
Biology: 98 percent satisfactory, 29 percent advanced
Reading I: 94 percent satisfactory, 20 percent advanced
Writing I: 89 percent satisfactory, 13 percent advanced
World Geography: 97 percent satisfactory, 43 percent advanced
Source: Plano ISD