Projection method puts PAISD up a notch
Without the Texas Projection Measure (TPM), Port Aransas schools might have received a rating of “academically acceptable” from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) instead of the “recognized” rating it received.
As recently as late June, Port Aransas school trustees had expected exemplary ratings for all three campuses and the district, based on preliminary scores in the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests.
On Friday, July 30, the TEA released the final, official scores for 2009: All three Port Aransas campuses and the district are rated recognized.
Depending on how students perform on TAKS tests, the TEA assigns public schools various accountability ratings, from academically unacceptable up to acceptable, recognized and, at the top, exemplary.
The TPM allows testers to count students as passing parts of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test, even though they don’t get a passing score on the test itself. The rationale is that educators can predict, based on studies, how many students will improve enough to pass the TAKS tests in the future. Those students are then credited with passing this year’s tests.
Port Aransas Superintendent Dr. Sharon Doughty, asked about the role the TPM played in the ratings for Port Aransas ISD, referred the South Jetty to the TEA Web site.
That Web site, which breaks down TAKS scores and ratings by districts and by campuses, shows that 86 out of 112 economically disadvantaged students district-wide passed the TAKS math test. That’s a 77 percent passing rate, not enough to gain an exemplary or even a recognized rating, but it would put the district in the “academically acceptable” category.
The same Web site shows 42 of 53 economically disadvantaged students passed the science test, for a passing rate of 79 percent – again, good enough for academically acceptable but not good enough for exemplary or recognized.
With TPM, the test results were bumped up one level to recognized, the chart shows.
In both cases, the TEA chart said the numbers of economically disadvantaged students were large enough to be counted in the final tally. In cases where subgroups of students, such as Hispanic, African-American or economically disadvantaged, don’t make up a significant percentage of the student population, those groups aren’t counted in the results.
Of the three Port Aransas campuses – H.G. Olsen Elementary, Brundrett Middle School or Port Aransas High School – only H.G. Olsen unconditionally met standards for recognized status among economically disadvantaged students taking the math portion of the TAKS test. Students at H.G. Olsen Elementary were rated exemplary in all other tests, including writing, reading, social studies and science.
The TEA chart shows that the TPM, the projection measure, wasn’t used to raise any of the H.G. Olsen scores.
At Brundrett Middle School, students racked up exemplary ratings everywhere except math and science. The TPM was enough to bring the science score to exemplary, but not enough to raise the math score out of the recognized category.
Port Aransas High School students performed the same, with exemplary scores everywhere except math and science. Again, the TPM brought the science score up to exemplary, but the math score remained at recognized.
(DeEtta Culbertson, of the TEA’s public information staff, confirmed those interpretations of the accountability charts. Culbertson noted that in cases where subgroups are a very small percentage of the total number of students, no percentages are given to protect student confidentiality.)
The TEA points out that school and district ratings are based on more than TAKS scores, however. For instance, to be named an exemplary district, 90 percent of the students must pass the TAKS, 95 percent of seniors must either graduate on time or remain in school for a fifth year and the middle school dropout rate must be 1.8 percent or less.
To be named recognized, 80 percent of all students and each evaluated student group must pass the TAKS, compared to 75 percent in previous years. The school or district must achieve an 85 percent completion rate and must now have an annual seventh and eighth-grade dropout rate of 1.8 percent or below. The previ- ous seventh and eighth-grade dropout rate requirement was 2 percent.
Subgroup scores are given extra weight in figuring ratings so all student groups will be assured of equal classroom attention, the TEA said. However, the amount of that extra weight is not available.
Doughty said she would present the final TEA ratings results to the school board when it meets next week. That meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 12, in the administration building, 100 S. Station St.