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College Station students beat statewide TAKS scores

College Station students beat statewide TAKS scores

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College Station students performed well above the state average for the number of students who passsed the TAKS test this year, while their peers in Bryan hovered just below state figures, according to preliminary data.

Both districts saw increased passing rates on the fifth-grade reading, math and science, and seventh-grade reading, math and writing exams from 2006 to 2007.

The passing rate in College Station remained nearly the same this year when compared to 2006 final TAKS results.

The percentage of students meeting state requirements increased in 10 areas by as much as 5 percentage points, while that number dropped in nine areas by as much as 4 percentage points, an analysis of the preliminary data shows.

The passing rate remained the same in six areas of the exam.

College Station also saw gains on third-grade reading, fourth-grade writing, and 10th-grade math and social studies exams. Drops in the passing rate were spread throughout the rest of the scores.

In Bryan, the passing rate increased in 16 areas of the test from 2006 to 2007, with gains as high as 13 percentage points, according to final and preliminary results. The passing rate decreased in eight areas by as much as 5 percentage points, while rates in two areas were unchanged.

Gains in Bryan also were achieved on the exams for third-grade reading; sixth-grade math; eighth-grade reading, math and social studies; ninth-grade math; and 10th-grade English and language arts, math, social studies and science exams.

There was a decrease in the passing rate on all fourth-grade exams and exit-level exams in English and language arts, math and social studies.

But despite the gains in some subjects, administrators said they won't know for sure how their district fared until final results are released this summer.

The Texas Education Agency could choose not to count the scores of individual students or groups of students in the district's final results, which makes judging the preliminary figures a guessing game, said Lucy Larrison, executive director of accountability and research for Bryan schools.

"This does not reflect the potential rating for any campus, and there are many issues that have to be extracted," she said. "This is raw data that's not necessarily going to reflect what's going on at that campus."

Accountability ratings will be released Aug. 1. The ratings - exemplary, recognized, academically acceptable and academically unacceptable - are assigned to each district and campus in the state based on the percentage of students who pass the TAKS test and the State-Developed Alternative Assessment, the completion rate and the dropout rate.

The percentage of College Station students who met state requirements on the exam surpassed the state average in all areas except fourth-grade writing at South Knoll Elementary, according to the preliminary figures.

Superintendent Eddie Coulson said the preliminary results showed that College Station students did well on the exam.

"They are very positive, especially as you compare them to the state averages," Coulson said. "As we compare year-to-year and grade level-to-grade level, we're continuing to see positive results from our students."

Coulson said College Station students performed well on parts of the exam required to advance to the next grade level, including the reading exam for third-graders, reading and writing for fifth-graders and the exit-level exam for high school students.

College Station students did particularly well on math portions of the exam. The percentage of total students in the district who passed the exam exceeded the state average by more than 15 percentage points in sixth-grade math, eighth-grade math, ninth-grade math, and 10th-grade math and science, the data show.

The percentage of Bryan students who passed the exam remained below the state average on all portions except fifth-grade reading and math and 10th-grade English and language arts, math, social studies and science, according to the data.

Bryan numbers were below the state average between 1 and 10 percentage points in other categories, according the data.

Frances McArthur, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said that a higher percentage of Bryan students passed the exam this year, closing the gap between the district and state averages, especially on the secondary level.

"We are pleased," McArthur said. "We're encouraged by the growth and we continue to focus on our areas of need."

McArthur said that schools across the district are concentrating on math, but the district won't know exactly what the schools will need to focus on until final results are released.

"There's just too much variance that could take place," she said. "We've got some areas that are so encouraging that we're real excited about, but I'd like to see the final results."

McArthur and Coulson said that while each district's results are encouraging, the TAKS exam is just one way to gauge how students are performing.

"It's very important that we do well on the TAKS test, and we continue to strive to do that," Coulson said. "But it's important to remember that the TAKS test is but one measure of success for our students, albeit a very important measure."

• Arena Welch's e-mail address is arena.welch@theeagle.com.

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