Over half of the 12 school districts in Fort Worth saw decreases in third-grade reading scores on the state standardized test, while the other five had increases or stable numbers.
The Texas Education Agency released the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test results Aug. 16. Seventh-grade students struggled with math across the districts.
Scores in Fort Worth ISD, the largest school district in the city, showed little improvement.
Except for sixth graders, all other grade levels in Fort Worth ISD saw a drop in grade-level reading skills. The number of fourth graders who met grade level on the reading test dropped from 43% to 31% between 2022 and 2023.
However, while most grade levels trend positively on math, only sixth graders showed a slight percentage point drop from 15% to 14%. The lowest math score was among seventh graders: Only 6% met grade level, a 1 percentage point increase from 2022.
The scores in Fort Worth ISD match statewide data, according to the Texas Education Agency. Reading-language arts scores were mostly unchanged, and five of six tested grade levels in math had an increase in scores.
Fort Worth ISD sees this year as a baseline because it was the first time students took the newly revamped test that was only administered online, spokesperson Cesar Padilla said.
Padilla touted the district’s double-digit gains between 2021 and 2023 in third-, fourth- and eighth-grade math and sixth-grade reading. However, the number of students in those grades meeting grade level on the spring 2023 math test is lower than the district’s pre-pandemic results. Sixth-grade reading is higher than pre-pandemic levels.
“We also recognize that we need to provide additional support to our students and staff so that we can realize the academic outcomes we all aspire to achieve,” Padilla said in a statement.
Every grade level in Aledo ISD had at least 71% of students scoring on grade level despite declines in third, fourth, seventh and eighth grades.
Seventh-grade students in Aledo ISD struggled with math despite small improvements. The district saw 39% of seventh-grade students meet grade level, an 11-percentage-point increase from 2022.
An Aledo ISD spokesperson did not respond to a request to comment by publication time.
The number of sixth-grade students at Burleson ISD who met grade-level reading increased 8 percentage points from 44% to 52%.
However, the district saw a 19-percentage-point jump for eighth-graders meeting grade levels on their math test — the biggest increase across the 12 Fort Worth-area districts. Now, 38% of eighth graders met grade level; 19% did last year.
A Burleson ISD spokesperson said the district had no comment, as the administrative staff was out for the first day of school.
Castleberry ISD saw a 17-percentage-point increase in the number of sixth-graders who met grade level in the reading test. Forty-four percent of sixth-graders met grade level, compared to 27% in 2022.
The district mostly saw improvements in the math results with the exception of third-graders. Now, 29% of Castleberry ISD third-graders met grade level in the math test. In 2022, 34% did.
Seventh graders in the district struggled with math despite improvements, as 7% met grade-level standards compared to 5% in 2022.
A Castleberry ISD spokesperson did not respond to a request to comment.
The number of Crowley ISD fourth graders who met grade level in the reading test dropped 9 percentage points from 45% to 36%.
The school district saw an 8-percentage-point increase for sixth-graders who met grade level on the reading test. Now, 36% of sixth graders met grade level, while 28% did in 2022.
Crowley ISD saw stable numbers or increases in the number of students who met grade level in their math test.
The number of Crowley ISD fifth graders who met grade level on the science test dropped 12 percentage points to 21% from 33%.
A Crowley ISD spokesperson did not respond to a request to comment.
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD
The number of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD students who met fourth-grade reading level in the test dropped 9 points to 42% from 51%.
The school district saw an 11-percentage-point increase for fourth-graders who met grade level in the math test. Now, 44% of fourth graders met grade level, while 33% did in 2022.
An Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD spokesperson did not respond to a request to comment.
Everman ISD saw a 15-percentage-point decrease in the number of seventh graders who met grade level in the reading test. Now, only 27% met grade-level standards compared to 42% last year.
The school district also saw a 13-percentage-point drop in the number of eighth graders who met grade level in the math test, going from 20% to 7%.
The students in the school district have demonstrated consistent performance compared to the previous year in light of the reassessment redesign, Nikita Russell, chief of communications and marketing at Everman ISD, said in an email.
“While we acknowledge that there are always areas for improvement, we are eagerly anticipating how the data will be reflected in the updated A-F accountability ratings,” Russell said.
In 2022, 54% of Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD sixth graders met grade level on the reading test — the lowest reading score in the district.
Now, 70% of HEB ISD sixth graders met grade level on the reading test. They tied with eighth graders, who also saw the same percentage of their class meet grade level.
The district saw positive trends in the math results, with the exception of third graders, who dropped 1 percentage point from 54% to 53% compared to the previous year.
A HEB ISD spokesperson said the school district did not have a comment at this time.
The number of Keller ISD students who met grade level on the sixth-grade reading test increased by 16 percentage points — one of the largest rises for the district. This year, 65% of sixth graders met grade level, while last year 49% did so.
The district also saw seventh graders struggle with math. Although 39% of seventh graders met grade level in the math test — a 12-percentage-point increase from 27% last year — the number is still significantly lower than the other grade levels in the district.
STAAR is one of many metrics that Keller ISD considers when measuring students’ academic performance, and the school districts will continue to analyze this year’s tests to determine areas of growth and opportunities, district spokesperson Bryce Nieman said.
Lake Worth ISD
The number of Lake Worth ISD students meeting grade level on reading and math grew across most grades. However, most students did not pass.
Lake Worth ISD saw the most growth on the sixth-grade reading test with an increase of 9 percentage points and a 10-point bump on the seventh-grade math test.
The district, though, experienced a 13-point decline in the number of fourth graders meeting grade level on the reading test.
Lake Worth ISD recognizes the scores are below the region and state, but the school district is confident that strategic changes will improve student performance, district spokesperson Jeri Martinez-Fink said in an email.
Northwest ISD was among the school districts with the highest-performing STAAR results.
“According to preliminary district-wide results, Northwest ISD continues to outperform regional and state averages on high-stakes STAAR/EOC test scores,” spokesperson Anthony Tosie said. “In our schools, however, we focus on personalized learning experiences, individual student growth and meeting the academic needs of all students.”
The biggest jump in Northwest ISD was on the seventh-grade math test. In the spring, 39% of seventh graders met grade level — 23 percentage points higher than last year.
White Settlement ISD
The number of White Settlement ISD students who met grade level on the fourth-grade reading test dropped 11 percentage points — one of the largest declines for the district. More than half of fourth graders met grade level, while last year 62% did so.
However, the district saw a 12-percentage-point jump in the number of sixth graders meeting grade level on the reading test. Now, 54% of sixth-grade students met grade level. Last year, 42% met grade level.
A White Settlement ISD spokesperson did not respond to a request to comment.
Editor’s note: This story was updated Aug. 18, 2023, to clarify a statement from a Fort Worth ISD spokesperson. The statement said Fort Worth ISD saw double-digit gains in third-, fourth- and eighth-grade math and sixth-grade reading on the 2023 tests, but did not state to which years administrators compared the results. The district compared results from 2023 to 2021. The spokesperson said the district inadvertently made the omission.
Kristen Barton is an education reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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