During a public hearing on district accountability scores, the Leander Independent School District board of trustees learned how the district will be graded under new state standards.

Third- through ninth-grade Texas students will begin taking the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, this year. The Texas Education Agency told districts the STAAR test would be more difficult than the previous test, the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.

Debbie Sommer, LISD director of state assessment, told the board at their Jan. 19 meeting that the state is devising ways to compare STAAR and TAKS scores to keep accountability ratings consistent.

“There are three different committees meeting through the spring of 2013,” Sommer said. “They’ll make recommendations on how to integrate the state and federal systems.”

Beginning in 2014, districts will be deemed Acceptable or Unacceptable, similar to the way they are rated now, Sommer said. Districts have the opportunity to gain distinction as Recognized or Exemplary based on STAAR college-readiness standards under the current system.

Once the new system goes into effect in 2014, districts will be able to gain distinction if they score in the top 25 percent statewide in annual improvement and for narrowing achievement gaps as well. Individual campuses will be able to earn distinction based on committee recommendations for achievements in academics, physical education, fine arts and other categories, Sommer said.

Education code requires school boards publish and hold public hearings regarding Academic Excellence Indicator System, or AEIS, reports. At the meeting, Sommer reviewed the findings, which were released in July, including summaries of test scores, staff demographics and budget expenditures. No citizens elected to speak at the meeting regarding the report.

At the same meeting, the LISD board readopted the 2012-13 district calendar with a modified bad weather makeup day. A date on the previously adopted calendar conflicted with a state standardized testing day.

The board approved the audited comprehensive annual financial report, which will be submitted to three government entities, including the TEA, the Association of School Business Officials International and the Government Finance Officers Association.


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