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Austin Students Continue to Improve on Texas Assessment of Knowledge & Skills Tests
As TAKS Requirements Increase, Austin Students Keep Pace

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May 20, 2005 - Austin students continued to keep pace with rising Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) requirements in 2005, showing improvement at all grade levels and for nearly all student groups, according to test results released by the Texas Education Agency.
Of the 63 possible comparisons (nine grade levels tested times seven student subgroups), Austin students showed improvements in 58 subsets over 2004, or 92 percent of all categories.  
A preliminary comparison with the statewide results that were released late Friday afternoon by the Texas Education Agency shows that Austin students again patterned the state passing rates on TAKS, especially at the elementary and high school grades.  
Austin students’ passing rate on the all-important eleventh grade TAKS tests, which is required for high school graduation, was 68 percent, identical to the statewide results.  
A comparison of passing rates by “All Students” for “All Tests Taken” in English in 2004 and 2005 shows improvement nearly across the board in AISD:  
“As the tests get more difficult, and the number of correct answers required to pass has increased, our students are showing steady progress by earning higher scores this year than last year,” Superintendent Pat Forgione said.  
“We support high standards for all students, and these results point out that there is still much work to be done in our efforts to support success for all students on all tests taken. We won’t be satisfied until every student meets—or exceeds—the new, more challenging test standards—and that will take additional financial support and investment,” he said.  
“Austin ISD targets each struggling learner with a series of interventions. Extra funding is required to provide the needed services, including more time for teachers to work with these students during the school day, after school, on weekends, and during the summer. We remain committed to stretching every dollar to help all Austin students meet these more rigorous academic standards,” Dr. Forgione said.  
Students in grades 3-11 took the battery of TAKS tests — Reading/English Language Arts, Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies —in testing periods in February and April. Some key TAKS highlights for Austin students in 2005 include:  
All Tests Taken  
• The most dramatic one-year advance among All Tests Taken were 14 percentage point improvements for Hispanic and Economically Disadvantaged fifth graders.  
• In general, fifth graders, sixth graders, and ninth graders demonstrated the most improvement in their passing rates on All Tests Taken, when compared to 2004.  
• On average, improvements in passing rates for All Tests Taken generally were better for African American, Hispanic, and poor children than for White students.  
Reading/English Language Arts (Grades 3-11)  
• Greatest improvements relative to 2004 in Reading/English Language Arts were seen at fifth grade across all student groups, up by 14 percentage points.  
• The highest overall passing rates in Reading/English Language Arts were seen at:  
     • Grade three — 94 percent.  
     • Grade eleven — 87 percent.  
     • Grade five — 84 percent.  
     • Grade six — 80 percent.  
• Substantial increases in the passing rates in Reading/English Language Arts were also observed from 2003 to 2005 at grades five, nine, and eleven among all student subgroups. Gains among African American, Hispanic, and Economically Disadvantaged students generally were two times greater than those seen among White students, except at grades nine and eleven.  
Mathematics (Grades 3-11)  
• Among all students tested in Mathematics, passing rates were highest at third grade, at 81 percent. Improvements in the passing rates since 2004 were greatest at ninth, tenth, and fifth grades.  
• Among all students tested, elementary level students most often scored at “Commended” level in Mathematics:  
     • Grade Three – 27 percent.  
     • Grade Four – 28 percent.  
     • Grade Five – 29 percent.  
     • Grade Six – 27 percent.  
Writing (Grades 4 & 7)  
• In fourth grade Writing, 91 percent of all students tested passed. Every student group in fourth grade earned passing rates equal to or greater than 80 percent.  
• Double-digit improvements were observed in Writing over the two-year period for every student subgroup, except for White students whose passing rates improved by five percentage points in that same time period.  
Science (Grades 5, 10 & 11)  
• Improvements relative to 2004 at all grade levels in Science were greater for Hispanic, African American, and Economically Disadvantaged students, than they were for White students.  
• Improvements relative to 2004 were evident at every grade level and for every student subgroup in Science, ranging from three percentage point changes among White students at grade 10 and Exit Level, to a 14-percentage point improvement among fifth grade Hispanic and Economically Disadvantaged students.  
• The highest overall passing rate in Science was seen at eleventh grade (79 percent), and the lowest passing rate this year was at tenth grade (56 percent). The fifth grade passing rate rose to 60 percent — an improvement of 12 percentage points over the performance of last year’s fifth graders.  
Social Studies (Grades 8, 10 & 11)  
• Performance in Social Studies improved for all students tested in eighth and tenth grades, and declined slightly (two percentage points) for all students at eleventh grade. However, the passing rate at eleventh grade for all students remained above 90 percent.  
• Improvements in the passing rates at eighth and tenth grades were greatest for Hispanic, African American, and Economically Disadvantaged students, and least for White students.  
Results for All Tests Taken, English Only, in 2004 and 2005  
Results for All Tests Taken, Spanish Only, in 2004 and 2005

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