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It's Official: DISD Now Has More Academically Unacceptable Schools Than Exemplary Ones

The Texas Education Agency won't officially release its based-on-TAKS-scores state accountability ratings till 'round 1 this afternoon (here, for those so interested), at which point Commissioner of Education Robert Scott will hold a press conference in Austin. But the Dallas Independent School District's not wasting any time releasing its results, which are: 30 exemplary schools, 67 recognized campuses and 33 deemed academically unacceptable. That's about what the district has expected since early June -- and a far cry from last year's results, when DISD could boast of 63 exemplary campuses and 62 recognized, with but 15 on the unacceptable list.

We know what caused the precipitous drop -- getting rid of the Texas Projection Measure, which artificially prettied up the numbers (and which DISD really misses, if the this morning's release is any indication). But now what? Let's ask the interim super, Alan King.

"Dallas ISD taxpayers, parents, students and staff have every reason to be proud of the schools that received the state's top two ratings, particularly since the standards were raised this year," King says in a statement that follows in full. "At the same time, our staff makes no excuses for the schools listed as Academically Unacceptable and vows to provide additional support to them during the next school year. It should be noted, however, that Dallas ISD's achievement levels have not substantially changed. How ratings are calculated has changed."

We'll drill into the numbers when they come available -- and look at which schools ended up where. For now, of course, DISD's only released the names of the exemplary schools.

Update: On the other side is the complete list of DISD schools as classified by the Texas Education Agency.

2011 AEIS Data Campuses Summary

Now, from the district's release this morning:

School ratings for 2011 released by the Texas Education Agency today show that the Dallas ISD has 30 Exemplary schools, 67 Recognized schools and 33 rated as Academically Unacceptable.

Five indicators are used to determine ratings: 1) percentage of students passing the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), 2) performance and progress of English Language Learning students, 3) percentage of students scoring at commended performance levels on TAKS, 4) completion rate for the 2010 graduating class and 5) annual dropout rate for grades 7-8 during the 2009-10 school year.

"Dallas ISD taxpayers, parents, students and staff have every reason to be proud of the schools that received the state's top two ratings, particularly since the standards were raised this year," said Interim Superintendent Alan King. "At the same time, our staff makes no excuses for the schools listed as Academically Unacceptable and vows to provide additional support to them during the next school year. It should be noted, however, that Dallas ISD's achievement levels have not substantially changed. How ratings are calculated has changed."

All six of the magnet schools at the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center were rated exemplary, as were the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership Academy, Dallas Environmental Science Academy, Travis TAG, George Bannerman Dealey Montessori, Longfellow Career Exploration Academy, Middle College and Harry Stone Montessori. In addition, the following elementary schools were rated Exemplary: Bonham, Casa View, Field, Hexter, Lakewood, Jimmie Tyler Brashear, Umphrey Lee, Mount Auburn, Elisha Pease, Charles Rice, Clinton Russell, H.S. Thompson, Ronald McNair and Robert E. Lee.

"The principals and teachers from these schools are to be commended for their work," said King. "They set the example for others in Dallas ISD to follow."

School ratings consider the academic performance of all student groups in each grade and each subject. Failure by any group to meet the standard in any one subject or grade can lower a school's rating.

A number of accountability standards changed in 2011. The standard to be named an Academically Acceptable school was raised 5 percent in both math and science. The state also required more special education students to be included in accountability ratings. New requirements, including commended performance and English language learner progress, were added for schools to be named Recognized and Exemplary.

In addition, the state no longer uses the Texas Projection Measure (TPM), which gauges indicators of future student progress. Had TPM remained in use, approximately 50 district schools would have been rated Exemplary, roughly 67 schools would be rated Recognized and 5 schools would have been rated Academically Unacceptable based on academic performance.

Districtwide, the percentage of Dallas ISD students passing the 2011 TAKS Mathematics test increased by 1.2 percent while the percentage of district students passing the state's science and social studies tests increased 0.9 percent in both subjects. The percentage of district students passing the state's reading test dropped 0.1 percent, while the percentage of district students passing the state writing test, given in both 4th and 7th grade, fell 1.2 percent.

Overall, the gains and decreases in Dallas ISD on the TAKS test were similar to how students performed statewide. Dallas' gains were greater than the amounts of positive change statewide in math, science and social studies. Dallas ISD also saw gains in all subjects except writing in the percentage of students passing at commended levels.


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