Leander ISD looks at how to improve STAAR test results

Leander ISD staff are working to understand and improve student performance on the annual State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, assessments.

District administration members presented results from an analysis of the latest assessment results to the Leander ISD board of trustees May 4. The district used a program called INOVA to review the data, and district Chief of Staff Matt Smith said the program can help faculty look at how students perform and analyze how intervention may help support performance.

Based on the data, students could be coded to determine their likelihood to pass the STAAR test, as well as divided into three performance groups: those who underperformed, those who met expectations or those who overperformed during their last assessment, regardless of whether they passed the test.

Superintendent Dan Troxell said he values understanding the progress of each student, saying the “pass-fail model is blatantly a false methodology for evaluating whether kids are really progressing.” He said even students who are likely to pass the test should take it each year to determine progress over time.

To put the data to the test, Cypress Elementary School faculty selected a group of students from the three performance groups. Administration members then collected data on each student beyond their academic scores, including attendance, education programs enrolled in, and emotional and social status in the classroom.

Principal Vicky Draper said all the students in the study were put on a board in her office and color coded based on these factors. After looking at the student as a whole, she said faculty identified the student’s driver, the one attribute that held the student back the most. What they found, Draper said, was there was more intervention needed than just academic support.

“What we identified for many of the students that we had on my board were that they need either mentors or they need counseling support or some type of intervention along those lines,” she said. “They had test anxiety, they had attendance concerns, they had different things like that that we need to address in a completely different way.”

Teachers set up four-week intervention plans and then reported back to the principal. Students then retook sections of the STAAR test. In one example, a group of six fifth-grade students retook the math portion of the assessment. After intervention efforts, five of six students passed. Only two of the six students passed last year. All of them, Draper said, scored significantly better than they had scored previously.

The strategies developed by staff can now be translated to other schools, Troxell said, and adjusted to fit each school’s needs. Draper said Cypress Elementary is already using the data collected to plan classes for next year.

“I’m very hopeful that we’ve caught things early, and we’re able to make a difference for them at this level that we can prevent things; we’ve taken a proactive stance that we didn’t have before, that we were missing before really,” she said.


MOST RECENT

Leander ISD is holding an online survey so LISD stakeholders may “share ideas, concerns, and thoughts regarding our starting school” Aug. 13. (Community Impact staff)
Leander ISD online survey seeks feedback from families regarding August reopening

Leander ISD is holding an online survey so LISD stakeholders may “share ideas, concerns, and thoughts regarding our starting school” Aug. 13.

There have been 1,168 coronavirus recoveries in the county since mid-March, and active cases in Travis County are estimate at 2,011. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Weekend update: Austin metro coronavirus hospitalizations drop to lowest level since April 28

There have been 1,168 coronavirus recoveries in the county since mid-March, and active cases in Travis County are estimate at 2,011.

Candidates in the Senate District 14 special election responded to Community Impact Newspaper's questions about their campaigns to fill the vacant seat in the Texas Senate. (Design by Shelby Savage/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Senate District 14 candidates discuss the issues ahead of July 14 election

There are six candidates running in the special election to fill the seat of former Sen. Kirk Watson through 2022.

Travis County judge pushes back against attorney general's reprimand of stay-at-home order

Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe responded to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's warning that county coronavirus orders conflicted with the state's.

HCCM
Hill Country Community Ministries' Thrift Store reaches first anniversary in Leander

The thrift store supports Hill Country Community Ministries, a local food pantry and resource center that serves parts of Williamson and Travis counties.

Take a look at how coronavirus impacted Williamson County this week. (Chance Flowers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Take a look at how coronavirus impacted Williamson County this week

The county reported 596 total cases on May 29.

The Williamson County small-business grant program has issued more than $18.5 million as of May 29. (Ali Linan/Community Impact)
Williamson County small-business grant program issues more than $18.5 million

The program has aided more than 1,600 local businesses.

Williamson County and Cities Health District reported eight new cases of coronavirus May 29, bringing the county total to 596. (Screenshot courtesy Williamson County)
1 death and 8 new confirmed cases of coronavirus reported May 29 in Williamson County

Williamson County and Cities Health District reported the total number of cases at 596.

At the conclusion of nearly two months of remote learning, LISD Superintendent Bruce Gearing issued a statement May 29 to LISD families and employees. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
On last day of school, Leander ISD's 'heroism and resilience' lauded by superintendent

At the conclusion of nearly two months of remote learning, LISD Superintendent Bruce Gearing issued a statement May 29 to LISD families and employees.

(Courtesy Fotolia)
New school schedules and a road opening: Latest news from Central Texas

Read the latest news from Community Impact Newspaper's coverage of the Central Texas area.

council
City Council approves Toyota of Cedar Park expansion

Toyota of Cedar Park will expand its dealership by 9.22 acres along Toll 183A and add 160 jobs over five years.

The Northwest Austin swimming school has one Olympic-sized swimming pool and one teaching pool. (Courtesy Waterloo Swimming)
Waterloo Swimming reaches 10-year anniversary in Northwest Austin

Swim team, swim fitness and private swim lessons have restarted, and group swim lessons will begin again in June.