Students in Dallas ISD are closing the academic achievement gap and are exceeding pre-pandemic STAAR performances in the Meets Grade Level category in reading, which means more students are on grade level. This positive movement gives students and educators an encouraging boost to start the new school year.
Based on the most recent STAAR exam administered by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), reading and math scores in grades 3-8 show gains in 27 of the 36 categories in Approaches, Meets, and Masters, with no change in five of the categories and negligible dips in the remaining four.
Dallas ISD students narrowed the gap with the state in many areas, with better comparative growth rates in Approaches and Meets performance levels in nearly all grades and subjects.
A number of bright spots stand out including the gains from Dallas ISD’s investment in early learning, particularly through the Reading Academies, which were pivotal in mitigating learning loss. In reading, students either showed gains or held steady in 11 of the 18 categories compared to last year. However, when compared to the state’s growth from last year, Dallas ISD students had a higher growth rate in 16 of the 18 assessment categories, and the other two were unchanged. Highlights include students narrowing the gap with the state at the Masters level, sixth-grade reading making double-digit gains with an 11 percentage point increase at the Meets level, and an 8 percentage point gain at Approaches.
Strong math gains continue to be noteworthy for the second consecutive year, with students, across the board, in grades 3-8 improving their performance in the Approaches and Meets Grade Levels. Of particular note, fourth- grade students saw their strongest growth with a 9 percentage point increase over last year at the Meets performance level. Additionally, students in grades 4, 6, and 7 exceeded state growth in Masters.
For the STAAR End of Course (EOC) exams, the district showed academic gains in the Approaches performance level further reducing the achievement gaps. In nearly all EOC exams, Dallas ISD students continue to improve over last year, posting a 9-point gain in English I, an 8-point increase in U.S. History, and a 7-point gain in Algebra I.
“Everyone anticipated big drops in scores because of the STAAR test redesign. That didn’t happen in Dallas ISD,” said Superintendent Stephanie S. Elizalde. “The students whose early education started during, or was interrupted by the pandemic, are now at or above pre-pandemic levels in most categories. In fact, we are catching up to the state scores across the board. Congratulations to the teachers, students, parents, and administrators who worked to make this happen.”
TEA redesigned the 2023 STAAR to reduce the number of multiple-choice items and add a variety of technologically-enhanced items. In addition, writing questions were included in all reading tests including items with extended written responses.
“Unfortunately, student scores going up aren’t going to be reflected in our new A-F state ratings,” said Elizalde. “In fact, because TEA is changing the rules retroactively, student scores have gone up, school ratings are going down, which is why it’s important we celebrate the success of our teachers and students.”