WACO, Texas — The Texas Education Agency (TEA) released the 2021 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) results on June 28.
The number of students not meeting grade level performance increased from 2019 across all subject areas and grade levels, with English I and English II being the only exceptions. This didn't come as a surprise to superintendents at both Waco and Temple ISD.
“They actually just validated what we have seen and what we heard from colleagues from around the state, not only in Temple but regionally and beyond," Dr. Bobby Ott, Temple ISD superintendent, said.
Dr. Susan Kincannon, the superintendent at Waco ISD, said the district has already had begun planning to help improve scores for next year that include library upgrades, staff trainings and federal funding.
“We’ve shifted some of our federal title funding to add additional academic interventionists in reading and math in K-12. We’ll have the ability to pull our students wo are most behind out and work with them in small group settings,” Kincannon said.
The worst subject across the state was mathematics, where students in the eighth grade saw a 20% drop from 2019. Ott said he isn't surprised by that information.
“Questions are always different from students around mathematical concepts so I think its very important to have someone live and in-person to answer real time questions,” Ott said.
Both of these superintendents hope that their students stay encouraged and don't let these test scores affect how they'll approach school next year.
“We take those scores for what they are and given the circumstances and everything we’ve been through over the last 19 months, and we pick up the pieces and we move forward," Kincannon said.
Districts that had more virtual learning than in-person learning saw lower scores.
"We will all have a chance to collectively get back to where we started and gain a lot of ground," Ott said. "So I think that's how I'd look at it, I'd look through the windshield and not through the rear-view mirror as far as last year goes."
Students can check STAAR scores here.