On Aug. 8, the Texas Education Agency released its 2011–12 test results as well as how districts performed against No Child Left Behind standards.
Although Austin ISD as a district did not meet Adequate Yearly Performance requirements for reading, mathematics or graduation rate, district representatives said they maintain a positive outlook.
Sixty percent of AISD schools met AYP standards.
Chief Performance Officer Bill Caritj said AISD performed well considering the number of schools in the district, the concerns about graduation requirements and the district's transition to the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test.
"The challenge is, the same standard applies to everyone, so the 87 percent proficiency standard for reading applies to every student group," he said.
In a statement, Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said students have made gains despite increasing state and federal standards.
"We knew the district would face challenges this year, and we have continued to strengthen our curriculum and instruction so all of our students will be successful," she said.
According to the TEA, 28 percent of Texas districts met the standards.
Examining AISD Results
According to the TEA data:
In AISD, 85 percent of the 40,146 students taking the reading/English language arts test met AYP standards, but the district did not meet the 87 percent AYP performance target.
DeEtta Culbertson, TEA spokeswoman, said 40,121 students tested in math, but some might have been absent or took other versions of the exam. Eighty-three percent of students who tested in math met AYP, but not all subgroups met the target.
Eighty percent of the high school seniors in AISD, or 3,911 students, were in the graduating class of 2011. Not all subgroups met the graduation requirements. Districts were required to have a 75 percent graduation rate or a 90 percent attendance rate, depending on grade level.
Twelve AISD campuses will move into Stage 1 of the NCLB School Improvement Program this year because they missed AYP standards for two years in a row. Caritj said students in those schools have the opportunity to transfer to higher-performing schools.
Addressing the gaps
AISD is expanding its dual-language programs, Caritj said.
He said the district also added 400 model lesson plans focusing on English-language learners and students with disabilities.
"Our goal is to have aggressive interventions that involve specialists within the schools, and the whole point of that is to have fewer kids getting to the point where it feels like there's nothing else for them to do and no other resources," he said.
The district has partnered with groups such as Sylvan Learning Center and offers tutoring at many campuses. AISD also is giving grants and support to the vertical teams—networks comprising a high school and the elementary and middle schools that feed into it—of Eastside Memorial, Lyndon B. Johnson and John H. Reagan Early College high schools, Caritj said.
"There's probably not a vertical team in the district that's not receiving some attention," he said.
AYP federal caps mean the NCLB program limits the number of proficient results from other test versions that can count as proficient in AYP calculations.
In AISD, Hispanic, African-American and economically disadvantaged students missed math AYP standards because of the 2 percent and 1 percent federal caps. In ELA, Hispanic students missed AYP standards because of federal caps. Special education students missed AYP standards for both the ELA and math assessments, TEA reported.
Southwest Austin schools
- Middle schools: Bailey, Gorzycki, O. Henry, Paredes, Small
- Elementary schools: Baldwin, Baranoff, Barton Hills, Blazier, Boone, Bryker Woods, Casey, Casis, Clayton, Cowan, Galindo, Kiker, Kocurek, Mathews, Menchaca, Mills, Oak Hill, Palm, Patton, Pease, Pleasant Hill, St. Elmo, Zilker
- High schools: Akins, Austin, Bowie, Crockett, Travis
- Middle schools: Bedichek, Covington
- Elementary schools: Cunningham, Joslin, Odom, Perez, Sunset Valley, Williams
Source: Texas Education Agency