Thousands of North Texas students must retake new STAAR tests

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on June 8, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 8 at 6:26 PM

DALLAS - Results of the state's new achievement test for public school students, the STAAR end-of-course exam, are out, and they mean thousands of teenagers who didn't plan on summer school could be heading back to classes after all.

The numbers are critical for high school students who just finished their freshman year and took the test because they have to pass in order to graduate.

Here are how the percentages breakdown statewide:

  • Biology: 87%
  • Algebra I: 83%
  • World Geography: 81%
  • English I: 81%
  • Reading: 68%
  • Writing: 55%

Most North Texas districts have not released their passing and failing rates for freshmen who took the STAAR.

The Dallas Independent School District put out its numbers. DISD says about 9,000 freshmen took the STAAR test, and in writing, more than half failed, even with the state lowering the passing level to accommodate the rigor of this new test.

Here are how those numbers breakdown:

  •  5,100 flunked writing
  • 4,000 flunked reading
  • 2,100 flunked geography
  • 2,070 flunked algebra 1
  • 1,500 flunked biology

The students have nine more chances until they graduate to pass the test, and DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander urges them retake tests next month.

"Summer school is not mandatory for these students; it is optional," he said. "We would encourage them to do it because the more time spent preparing for this test the better off they are going to be. We want them to be able to pass this exam now so that way they can focus their attention on the 10th grade exams which are right around the corner next year."

Parents of DISD freshmen who must do a retake need to know that the tutoring, or what the district is calling "End-of-Course Academies," starts at home high schools next Wednesday, June 13 and the sessions run from 8 a.m. until noon. They continue up to the week of July 9, when the re-take tests will be given.

If students don't take them, then they will have nine more chances until their senior year ends. They must pass all 15 EOC tests to earn a diploma.

Politically, this renews the debate over whether there's too much emphasis on achievement testing, and if too much money has been cut from schools by lawmakers.

If Dallas made the summer tutoring mandatory, it must spend state and local dollars that have been cut. But, it will use federal money which means the extra classes are optional.

 

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