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Interim Super: "The Annual Ratcheting Up of Standards is Catching Up With" Dallas ISD

And the hits just keep on coming: One week ago today the Texas Education Agency officially announced that the Dallas Independent School District had more campuses deemed academically unacceptable (33) than exemplary (30) -- a radical shift from last year's stats, thanks in large part to the state doing away with the numbers-juicing Texas Projection Measure. Now this: Yet again, the DISD did not meet the Adequate Yearly Progress standards laid out by feds. Per the release sent out by the district late yesterday, 136 schools (61 percent) met AYP standards, 85 did not. "As a result of not meeting the new higher standards," says the release, "Dallas ISD will be listed as Missing AYP for the third consecutive year."

And what, precisely, is the AYP? The Texas Education Agency summarizes thusly:

Schools and districts must have 80 percent or more of their students in grades 3-8 and 10 pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) reading or English language arts test and 75 percent must pass the TAKS mathematics test to meet AYP. They also must achieve a 90 percent attendance rate or a 75 percent graduation rate, depending on the grade levels they serve.

Said the TEA yesterday, 5,597 schools in the state hit the AYP benchmarks, put in place by No Child Left Behind ; that's 66 percent, a hefty drop. Districts statewide took the same hit as DISD -- again, due to ditching the TPM security blanket. And it's only going to get worse: No Child Left Behind says that everyone has to pass everything by 2014, and keeps upping the standards each year. And that, says Dallas ISD temporary super Alan King in a district release, is making it hard on everyone:

"As with the state accountability ratings released a week ago, we make no excuses for the performance of our students. Overall district performance on the TAKS test showed gains in mathematics and a half point decline in reading. The annual ratcheting up of standards is catching up with our district and does not necessarily reflect on the quality of teaching or opportunities available to students whose campuses did not meet AYP status."

The district's release follows, and if there's any good news for the district, since the fate of No Child Left Behind's up in the air at the moment, it's also unclear how DISD will be sanctioned for failing to hit AYP for a third year. The district's now at Stage 3 in reading and math , which TEA doesn't even define beyond parental notification and implementing a district improvement plan under mandated by hitting Stage 1. Jump for the DISD's release. If you can read it.

ADEQUATE YEARLY PROGRESS RATINGS RELEASED
136 Dallas ISD Campuses Meet AYP; District Listed as Missing AYP for 3rd Year

DALLAS-Adequate Yearly Progress results from the Texas Education Agency show that annual increases in standards are causing challenges for Dallas ISD schools.

For the third year in a row, criteria in both the subjects of mathematics and reading increased significantly, up 8 percent in math to 75% and up 7 percent in reading to 80%. The reading standard is now the equivalent of a Recognized rating from the state system.

All totaled, 136 Dallas ISD campuses, or 61%, met AYP standards. 85 schools, or 39% did not. As a result of not meeting the new higher standards, Dallas ISD will be listed as Missing AYP for the third consecutive year.

"As with the state accountability ratings released a week ago, we make no excuses for the performance of our students," said Alan King. "Overall district performance on the TAKS test showed gains in mathematics and a half point decline in reading. The annual ratcheting up of standards is catching up with our district and does not necessarily reflect on the quality of teaching or opportunities available to students whose campuses did not meet AYP status."

As a result of not meeting AYP for the third consecutive year, the district will need to notify parents of the indicators missed (Reading and Mathematics standards) and how parents may become involved in improving the district. The No Child Left Behind Act that created AYP ratings in 2003 has yet to be re-authorized by the federal government. It is uncertain at this time how sanctions and ratings will occur in the future.

Standards for schools to meet AYP status will continue to increase during the next three years. In 2011-12, the reading standard will increase to an expectation of 87% of students passing with 83% of students passing in mathematics. By 2013-14, the expectation is that 100% of district students pass both the reading and mathematics tests.

"Everyone in the Dallas Independent School District continues to be committed to working as hard as possible to improve student achievement in every classroom of every campus," said King. "These ratings will not slow down the efforts of our dedicated staff. We will work with the Texas Education Agency to put together the best possible plan to serve all of our students."


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