District makes the grade on prelim test results
Progress on preliminary state standardized test scores offer hope for Hays CISD officials that the district won’t have an “Improvement Required” campus for the first time in several years.
On June 24, Hays CISD leaders unveiled preliminary State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) results, which showed nearly all campuses in the district showed vast improvement on test scores. Final scores for each campus will be released by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) sometime in August and will be released again by Hays CISD for the district to review.
According to the preliminary results, Tom Green Elementary, one of two Hays CISD campuses labeled IR by the TEA in 2018, showed the most improvement by going from an average score of 58 last year to an 84 in 2019.
Hays CISD Chief Communication Officer Tim Savoy said each school’s principal worked independently to ensure students were prepared for the STAAR exam. The district retained the services of a consultant who had previously improved scores in the district in 2016.
During the 2018-19 school year, district officials worked toward their goal to invite kids into extracurricular activities, sports and academic clubs to better their learning. Savoy said studies show that active students enjoy coming to school and, in turn, enjoy learning and perform well.
The district also expanding its literacy program by investing in phonics systems last year, which aided elementary school children in better learning later in life.
“Up until the end of the third grade, student are learning to read,” Savoy said. “Once they are in the fourth grade and beyond, they are reading to learn, and their literacy abilities make a difference.”
Savoy said that while the district relies on STAAR test scores to receive state funding and to gauge student learning, the tests are not the best or only way to measure a student’s knowledge.
“We are glad to see the scores up,” Savoy said. “The district is using data to gather how well we did and, then in August, we will look at scores again after final results come from the state.”
Hays CISD Superintendent Eric Wright said preliminary scores are an estimate and subject to change. However, the scores present a reliable view showing an increase in student performance on the STAAR exams, Wright said.
“The data all changed for the better,” Wright said. “We took care of every single kid’s needs and because of that, we were able to advance these results.”