Student test scores in HISD improved slightly in most subjects this year, but English and writing were not as good as Superintendant Dr. Terry Grier had hoped. Performance in math and science on TAKS, the state exams, increased by 2-percent.
"These two subjects have long proven to be a most difficult subject matter to master for students here in HISD and across the state of Texas. The boost in achievement happened both in terms of better passing rates, and a higher percentage of students reaching their tougher commended level, that shows whether students are learning at a pace that will prepare them for college and meaningful careers."
That's the good news. The bad news came in reading and writing.
"The district's overall reading passing rate remained unchanged at 85-percent across the district, even though the commended rate grew 2-percentage points up to 30-percent. On the writing exam, HISD's passing rate now stands at 91-percent, 2-percentage points lower than last year, and the writing commended rate was unchanged at 30-percent."
He was most concerned about Attucks Middle School in southeast Houston, where preliminary scores fell in at least four subjects. But one bright spot was the performance of some high priority schools in Dr. Grier's Apollo 20 program.
"We're not yelling, we're not willing to declare victory with these Apollo schools, not at all. And I can tell you when one of them doesn't work, or we're not as successful as we would like for it to be, we won't give up. We'll go back and look again, because all children deserve a quality education here in Houston and we're gonna keep at it."
He credits the dedication of teachers and principals who want to see those schools improve.
Gayle Fallon is with the Houston Federation of Teachers:
"What they got out there are preliminary campus ratings, you know just based on the test scores, but there is a little more that goes into a campus rating. These are very, very preliminary. And what they get at the end, when we get the actual accountability ratings, will be the real answer. We were happy to see him credit the teachers with the increases."
Overall scores are expected to improve after 5th and 8th graders who retook the TAKS under state law have their new scores added. The schools accountability ratings will be released by the state later this summer.