Three SSISD elementary campuses get recognized ratings, but almost all schools see rankings drop one level
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Aug. 5, 2005 -- The good news is that Sulphur Springs Independent School District was among the 986 districts throughout the state receiving “academically acceptable” accountability ratings, and had three elementary schools among only 27.3 percent of campuses ranked in the state to receive “recognized.”

The bad news: All district schools, except middle school, dropped a full ranking this year.

Austin, Lamar and Travis Elementary Schools have the distinction of receiving recognized ratings, although it should be noted that Early Childhood Learning Center was included with Travis Elementary’s results. That makes them among 1,866 campuses to receive the second highest designation.

Sulphur Springs High School was also among the 364 schools to receive an “academically unacceptable” rating, the state’s lowest accountability rating. That reflects a state trend for lower school scores. Last year only 95 schools in Texas received an unacceptable rating. This year, 61 school districts and 364 schools, which includes 313 traditional campuses and 51 charter campuses (or 17.2 percent of the charter schools ranked), were rated unacceptable.

The three most common reasons that districts and campuses received academically unacceptable ratings are failure to meet the State-Developed Alternative Assessment II passing rate; performance on the science TAKS; or performance on the math TAKS. The SDAAII was also SSHS’s problem area. According to TEA’s web site, SSHS received the unacceptable rating due to the low State-Developed Alternative Assessment II passing rate. Of the 128 tests administered at the high school, only 54 students, or 42 percent, met ARD test standards.

The SDAA II is a Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills-aligned exam given to special education students in grades three through 10, used for the first time this year. The test is noted by TEA to be more comprehensive that the SDAA given one year ago. This year also marks the first time the test has been administered to ninth and 10th graders.

“Because of federal requirements, educators were forced to immediately set passing standards ... on the test for every student who took it. Previously, the first year was used as a baseline measure and growth measure or passing standards were not set for individual students until the second year,” according to TEA’s website.

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