Preliminary results show more Texas, Frisco ISD students underperforming

sample bar chart
See preliminary STAAR test results for Frisco ISD students. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

See preliminary STAAR test results for Frisco ISD students. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

The Texas Education Agency released preliminary State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness results this week, and students across the state and in Frisco ISD are more behind than in previous years.

The standardized tests, which measure academic readiness at each grade level, revealed fewer students met state standards this year than in 2019, especially in math.

In 2019, 6% of both fifth- and eighth-grade FISD students did not meet expectations for math scores. In 2021, that number jumped to 13% for fifth grade and 18% for eighth grade. The state followed that trend with Texas experiencing a more than 17% increase in both fifth and eighth graders who did not meet math standards from 2019 to 2021.

The percentage of FISD students who did not meet reading standards slightly increased from 2019 to 2021 with fifth graders rising from 9% to 11%. Eighth-grade numbers rose from 6% in 2019 to 9% in 2021.

Preliminary scores for third, fourth, sixth and seventh graders were not available. Final assessment results for each grade will be released June 28.

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath called the preliminary numbers “problematic” during a State Board of Education meeting June 23.

Morath also spoke about the “academic damage” the pandemic has caused.

One reason students may have done poorly on the STAAR this year, according to Morath, was that they were being “exposed to below-grade-level material all year long,” which students could not control.

Meghan Cone, FISD’s assistant director of communications, said STAAR is only one of the tests the district uses to monitor student progress.

“Additional support is always provided to students who are struggling, whether there is an indication of an achievement gap on STAAR or any other district assessment,” Cone said in a written statement.

She added student participation in STAAR was down on each campus by 6%-8% on average because virtual learners opted out of in-person testing, which is required for the state exam.

“It is difficult to say how reduced participation may have impacted overall passing percentages,” Cone said.

Under new requirements passed by the Texas Legislature this year, Morath said districts have to create a written plan for how they will accelerate learning for students that did not meet grade level in third, fifth and eighth grades.

Earlier this month, FISD announced $6.1 million in federal grant money will be designated for academic, mental health and social-emotional support for students.

The money comes from a coronavirus relief law passed by Congress in March and will make an impact for students over each of the next three school years.

The district’s website outlines strategies for each area of the support programs. For students who may have lost learning skills due to the pandemic, additional services such as speech therapy, physical therapy and remediation will be available.

The district has also offered a Summer Bridge program for the last two years, which consists of free, online content “designed to help [students] fill in learning gaps” and prepare for next school year. Students can use their STAAR results as a guide for subjects to study, or they can take an online assessment at the beginning of the course to identify improvement areas.

William C. Wadsack contributed to this report.
By Brooklynn Cooper
Brooklynn Cooper covers public education in Frisco and McKinney. Previously, she reported on southern Dallas for The Dallas Morning News. The Durham, N.C. native and devoted Tar Heel fan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019.


The city of McKinney established school zones for Emerson High School in a July 20 City Council meeting. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
School zone established for Emerson High in Frisco ISD; 61% of residents in 3 Plano ZIP codes fully vaccinated, and more top news from DFW

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

This year’s single-family housing permits in Frisco already rival total 2020 numbers, according to city data. Some local builders are working at breakneck speeds chasing demand with limited and increasingly costly supplies. (Matt Payne/Community Impact Newspaper)
High demand for homes creates difficult market in Frisco

Local real estate experts say it could be another year before the real estate scene stabilizes and have cited historically low interest rates as another driver of market conditions.

Uber Freight, the transportation company’s shipping and carrying branch, will acquire Frisco-based logistics firm Transplace for about $2.25 billion, the company announced July 22. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Uber Freight paying $2.25B for Frisco-based logistics firm Transplace

Uber's acquisition of Transplace positions Uber Freight as a “leading logistics technology platform" and allows for operations in Mexico.

Thalia’s Nail Studio opened July 2 at 12021 Dallas Parkway, Ste. 216, Frisco. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Thalia’s Nail Studio provides mani-pedi services in Frisco’s Phenix Salon Suites

Spa services, including detoxifying, herbal bath soaks and massages, are also available.

map of school zones
McKinney establishes school zones for new Emerson High

Frisco ISD's 11th high school will open this fall in west McKinney.

cup of tea
Yi Fang Taiwan Fruit Tea expands into Texas with Frisco location

Dozens of tea varieties are served with fresh fruit and milk.

Opioid abuse and the need for services addressing developmental disabilities are both on the rise in Collin County, LifePath Systems CEO Tammy Mahan told county commissioners on July 19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Collin County’s LifePath Systems sees rise in spending for opioid abuse, psychiatric beds

On treatment for opioid abuse, spending rose to $912,662 in 2020, which is up from $808,524 in 2019.

Suburban Yacht Club plans to open in Plano in August. (Courtesy Shannon McCarthy)
Suburban Yacht Club coming to Plano; Gidi Bar & Grill opens in Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Gidi Bar & Grill in Frisco specializes in African fusion food

Dishes include pan-roasted herb salmon fillet and asun goat meat with jollof rice.

Frisco Crossing Dental Group & Orthodontics opened July 1 at 1525 US 380, Ste. 600, Frisco. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Frisco Crossing Dental Group & Orthodontics offers flexible work

Emergency work, crown implants, filling repairs and teeth whitening are offered.

Pizza and wings will be offered at Barro's Pizza when the restaurant opens in McKinney this September. (Courtesy Barro's Pizza)
Barro's Pizza coming to McKinney; Murad Furniture opens in Richardson and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.