It’s the last full year that the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills will be administered to students in this state before a new standardized test takes it place, and the Texas Education Agency is heralding the exam as a resounding success.
TEA released statewide results today, and said passing rates on every test in every grade level improved dramatically since the exam was first given in 2003.
“We’re very proud of the academic growth Texas students have shown during the TAKS era,” Education Commissioner Robert Scott said in a news release. “TAKS, along with increasing curriculum standards and a focus on college readiness, pushed our students to new performance levels.”
You can read TEA’s full statement here.
District-by-district results will not be released until later this summer. This year, they won't include the Texas Projection Measure. TPM was a method of giving a school credit for a student who didn't pass, as long as that student was mathematically predicted to pass in the future. The elimination of TPM is expected to drag down academic rankings for schools and districts.
One professor of education at the University of Texas at Austin is reluctant to heap praise upon the TEA for this latest round of TAKS results.
“The scores never go down unless you change the test,” Dr. Ed Fuller told KUT News. “The question is, does the increase in scores an increase in learning, in the knowledge and skills of the students.”
“It’s difficult to do that without comparing the test results of the students on the state test to the test results of the students on another test,” he said.
Dr. Fuller recently looked at what he says is the “gold-standard” of tests evaluating math and reading, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Fuller found that Texas made large gains on NAEP math tests in the 1990s, but that outcomes have flattened since then.
[W]e can see that Texas 4th grade students made tremendous progress from 1992 through 2003 and even through 2005. But then what happened? No growth in achievement. Simply flat-line from 2005 through 2007 and 2009. In fact, Hispanic students–by far the largest 4th grade racial/ethnic sub-population in 2009–showed a DECREASE in scores from 2007 to 2009. This caused the achievement gap to INCREASE between White and Hispanic students from 2007 to 2009. This was the first time the achievement gap increased between Texas racial/ethnic since the beginning of NAEP testing.