Dallas ISD eighth-graders make significant gains in reading on STAAR

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Texas raised its standards for mathematics and reading this year, and Dallas Independent School District eighth-grade students rose to the occasion with an improved passing rate in reading on the first administration of the 2016 STAAR exam.

Overall, Dallas ISD eighth-graders taking the English version of the test improved their passing rate in reading by 3.4 percentage points from the previous year. A particular highlight is the 5.8 percentage point increase in reading for African-American students and an 8.4 percentage point increase for English Language Learners. Economically disadvantaged students also performed well, with a 3.1 percent increase in their passing rate.

Passing rates in reading for fifth-grade students held mostly steady, with a .2 percent increase from the year before. With all results, the passage data reflects student performance even as state standards have increased.

“The improvement by our eighth-grade students in reading is encouraging, and the fifth-grade reading results identify where we need to focus our efforts” said Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. “We believe the hard work of our students, teachers and staff will create more stepping stones as we raise achievement for all students.”

Fifth-grade students showed a solid increase in their mathematics exam passing rate from the year before, growing 2.8 percentage points. While nearly every group of students posted a gain of 2.3 percentage points or greater, African American students set the pace at 4.7 percent. This is particularly notable as Texas is increasing adjusted mathematics standards this school year.

A lower percentage of eighth-graders passed the mathematics exams on the first administration, with a 4.5 percentage point decrease from the prior year.

Dallas ISD leaders expressed optimism that the STAAR results reflected more gains than decreases, and said that work will continue to improve across all subject areas.

“The first administration STAAR results have many positives while also underscoring the work ahead,” Hinojosa said. “The STAAR results are an important indicator of performance, but they should also be seen in the context of other important signs of progress at the student, campus and district level. I am encouraged by the multiple signs of progress that show we are on the right track.”

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