‘Fresh start’ for RISD eyed with 2014 scores

The first set of new accountability ratings for the Rockdale ISD is due on Aug. 8 and school officials are viewing them as a chance to get a “fresh new start” after having to live with 2011’s disappointing marks for two years.

In 2011, two of the RISD’s campuses—RHS and the juniorhigh— received “unacceptable” ratingsduetocomplexissues involv ing scores w it h sub - groups.

Since there were no ratings last year, due to the changeover from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) to the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests, Rockdale hasn’t had a chance to see what it believes are major accountability improvements verified by the state.

TRENDS—“ I know we’ve been getting results with our efforts,” Pam Kaufmann, acting superintendent, told The Reporter. “I believe we’re seeing some very positive trends in the preliminary STAAR test results.”

That’s assuming RISD is correctly interpreting the preliminary data it has seen. “Everything is changing this year,” Kaufmann said. “Still, what we believe we are seeing is all our hard efforts paying off.”

Number-crunchers point to encouraging trends, especially in math and science scores in the fifth grade and above.

That’s welcome news since science scores were what triggered the junior-high’s “unacceptable” ratings two years ago.

“ We came up ( preliminary scores) pret ty much across the board in those two areas,” Kaufmann said.

“We’re just hoping we haven’t put so much effort into math and science that we’re falling back a little in areas where we’ve been real strong, like ELA (English/ Language Arts),” she said.

NEW LOOK—The 2013 ratings won’t look like anything those RISD patrons are used to seeing every August.

Gone are the familiar unacceptable acceptable-recognized-examplary ratings of TAKS days.

For 2013, campuses and districts will be rated either as “met standard” or “improvement required” in four performance indexes.

(There’s a third rating “met alternative standard,” for districts and campuses classified as “alternative.” That won’t apply in the RISD).

The four performance indexes are student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps and postsecondary readiness.

Student achievement index will cover all students, all test versions and all subject areas.

Student progress index will be based on 10 student groups, STAAR reading, math and writing.

Index for “closing performance gaps” will be based on sub-groups, “economically disadvantaged” students and whichever race/ethnic group is the lowest performing from the previous year.

TPM—That’s similar to the old Texas Projection Measure (TPM), which used to reward districts for making progress in subgroups. It was eliminated in April, 2011, four months before Rockdale ISD received its “unacceptable” ratings.

District officials said if the TPM had been in effect for those 2011 ratings, three Rockdale ISD campuses would have been “recognized,” one would have been “acceptable” and the district as a whole would have been recognized.

The final index, postsecondary readiness—what used to be termed “college bound”—is based on 10 student groups.

‘ SOLUTION’—What’s the bottom line?

“I know we’ve made some significant improvements,” Kaufmann said. “We’re very hopeful these new numbers are going to reflect that.”

“We really are looking at this situation, new test scores, new ratings, as a way to make a fresh start,” she said. “We want to invite the parents of our students and our entire community to join us and be part of the solution.”

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