Cy-Fair ISD ninth graders achieved higher scores on all end-of-course exams when compared to the statewide average in each category, according to preliminary data released in June.
"This is our baseline data and gives us the opportunity to see where our strengths are and where there are opportunities for us to grow and improve," said Roy Garcia, associate superintendent for curriculum, instruction and school administration.
Three different standardized tests were administered during the 2011-12 school year. Students in grades three through eight took the new STAAR test, pupils in ninth grade took end-of-course exams, and students in 10th through 11th grade took the TAKS test.
Seventy-six percent of CFISD ninth graders passed the English reading exam, 61 percent passed the English writing test, 93 percent passed biology, 89 percent passed world geography and 90 percent passed the algebra exam. CFISD students performed best on the algebra and biology end-of-course exams.
Compared to statewide data released by the Texas Education Agency, 68 percent of students in Texas passed the English reading test, 55 percent passed English writing, 87 percent passed biology, 81 percent passed world geography and 83 percent passed algebra.
"For algebra 1, which is the first year of the phase-in, students only needed to get 37 percent of the test correct to pass," said Ashley Clayburn, associate superintendent for school improvement and accountability. "However, with English 1 writing, students needed 61 percent correct to pass. We are seeing a change in passing standards, which is why we could be seeing a change in grades."
For students in grades three through eight, only raw scores—the number of questions answered correctly—are available because grading standards will not be set until the fall. Final scores will not be released to students until early 2013.
"The [Texas Education Agency] has developed a four-year phase in cycle for end-of-course exams,"Clayburn said. "The purpose of this is to provide students and educators with sufficient time to adjust to the rigor of assessment and higher performance expectations."
To graduate from high school, Texas students must pass 15 end-of-course exams by the end of senior year. As the new school year approaches, district employees will be focusing on three main areas to prepare students for the new tests: data analysis, campus improvement plans and the board goal-setting workshop. Grading standards—tougher than they ones this year—will be in place by the time students take the tests next year, and the end-of-course exams will count as 15 percent of a student's final grade. However, students who did not pass this year's tests can retake them over the summer, Garcia said.
"Let's say I met the passing standard, but feel like I could do better," he said. "I can take it again to get a better score. Students will have multiple opportunities to retake these."