The results of the STAAR tests were recently released with some area schools faring well while others need to work on their weaknesses in order to move forward.

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness tests are a series of state-mandated standardized tests in Texas public primary and secondary schools. It is used to assess a student’s achievements and knowledge learned in their grade level, according to the Texas Education Agency.

STAAR mostly replaced the TAKS in the spring of 2012, but students who entered 9th grade before the 2011-2012 school year continues to take the TAKS. This process is part of the TAKS to STAAR transition plan. By 2014 the last students will be taking the TAKS test, and the first students will graduate with completed STAAR end of course assessments.

Schools who receive funds from the state of Texas are required to enforce these tests among students who attend the schools. Any private school, charter school, or home schooling that does not receive monetary support from Texas is not required to take the STAAR test.

The percent of BCISD students that met the Phase in standard of STAAR in 2012 was higher than the state percentage in all areas except four. The students tied the state percentage in sixth grade reading and seventh grade math. The percentage of passers was lower than the state in two areas:  seventh grade reading and seventh grade writing. The seventh graders scored a 66 percent passed in writing compared to the state average of 71. In reading, they scored a 73 while the state average is 76.

“The teachers and students have already begun addressing the readiness and supporting Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills that were our areas of weakness,” said Gina Mannino, BCISD assistant superintendant.

Little-Cypress-Mauriceville third, fourth, fifth and eighth graders did better than students in the sixth and seventh grades. Overall they met or exceeded the state numbers while the sixth grade students struggled slightly with math scoring a 70 percent compared to a state percent of 72 and in reading scoring a 70 percent compared to the state of  average of 74 percent.

West Orange–Cove CISD students failed to match or exceed the state percentage of students passing in grades third through 8th grades. Third graders scored a 52 percent passed in reading while the state average was 76 percent. Thirty-six percent of third graders passed the math portion at WO-C while the state average was 68 percent.

Fourth graders reading scores were 53 percent at WO-C when at the state level 77 percent. In addition, 28 percent of West Orange students passed and at the state level 68 percent passed. The writing scores were 56 percent at WO-C while the state average was 71 percent.

Fifth graders also struggled. The state averages for math were 77, reading 77 and 73 percent for science. The percentage of students passing at WO-C were for math – 45, reading – 52 and science 43 percent passing.

Sixth graders came slightly closer with 75 percent in the state passing reading compared to 69 percent at WO-S. In math the percentage difference was slighly greater with 77 percent passing compared to 52 percent at WO-S.

The greatest deficit in the seventh graders scores at WO-C was 26 percent passed in math while the state average was 71 percent. The reading score was much closer with 76 percent of students passing in the state while at WO-C 64 percent passed. The state score for writing is 71 percent passed while it was a 20 percent drop for the WO-C score at 51 percent.

The state averages for eighth graders for math were 76 reading- 80 and 70 percent for science and 59 for social studies. The percentage of students passing at WO-C were for math – 46, reading – 62 and science 20 percent and social studies 50 percent passed.

“In preparation for the STAAR exam, West Orange – Cove CISD has been making many significant changes to our instructional support program at both the campus and central office level. After receiving our test results, we are obviously disappointed. Despite this initial outcome, we are confident and committed to the plan we have in moving forward. We feel strongly that our improvements in instructional quality, combined with the District’s instructional support, will allow us to have a more positive result in future testing,” said James Colbert, West Orange – Cove CISD Superintendent in a statement.

The Orangefield schools had their share of scores they will work to boost higher too.

Third grade students in Orangefield scored close to the state average in reading with 72 percent passing compared to 76 percent. The state average of passing students in math was 68 percent while in Orangefield schools, 51 percent passed.

Fourth graders also came close to the state averages in reading with 74 percent in Orangefield and 77 percent on the state level and they missed the state numbers in writing by five percentage points with 66 percent passing.


Orangefield fifth graders did well in reading and math but scored lower than the state average with 66 percent compared to 73 percent. Sixth graders also struggled with math and scored with a 66 percent passing compared to 77  percent statewide.

Seventh graders at Orangefield schools did well in reading and writing and barely missed the mark in math with 68 percent passing compared to 71 percent.

Eighth graders did well except in social studies where they scored 36 percent passing compared to the state passing of 59 percent.

Stephen Patterson of the Orangefield ISD, said the rigors of the state testing has increased from the TAKS to the STAAR.

“We are going to have to make adjustments in our strategies,” Patterson said. “As in TAAS to TAKS, we made adjustments and we will do the same from TAKS to STAAR.”

Local superintendents have spoken out in the past about the testing system. They agree an accountability system is needed, but not this one.

Mike King, BCISD superintendent, recently took a stand against what he calls the “one day, one test” system at a Rotary Club meeting.

“One day, one test does not determine our accountability,” King said. “What we want is a full range of accountability. You just don’t get a full picture on one day tests.”

According to King, the results from the test determine how a school does all year.

“I am proud of the teachers and kids work,” he added. “We are going to continue to work and stress that we’re offering the whole education and not just the ability to take tests.”

All Texas school districts and campuses are rated based on federal and state expectations. Under federal accountability, districts either meet AYP or they do not. However, under the state accountability, district campuses receive ratings such as exemplary, recognized, acceptable or unacceptable ratings.

“All you hear when you hear about school districts is acceptable, exemplary, recognized and unacceptable,” King said. “But, that’s just a one word rating.”

He also said he thought at the schools which received an unacceptable rating, there may still be a lot of great things happening at the school.

During the 2011-12 school year, the state tests were changed to the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness which replaced the TAKS which had been given for the previous eight years.