June 28, 2012 – Houston ISD students this year matched or beat the average scores posted by students across the nation on the Stanford and Aprenda exams in reading, math, science, and language, according to data released Wednesday.
Forty-seven percent of HISD’s students exceeded the average national score in the fifth tested subject, social science. Texas school districts are not required to administer the Stanford and Spanish-language Aprenda exams, but HISD does so to track how students compare to the rest of the country.
HISD students in grades 1-8 took the exams this spring. The number of students exceeding the national average increased from the 2010-2011 school year in the subjects of reading (50 percent) and language (53 percent). However, the percentage of HISD students scoring above the national average in math (61 percent) and social science declined (47 percent). The percentage of students scoring above the national average in science was unchanged (63 percent). HISD scores in all five subjects are higher than they were in 2009.
Houston’s student population is made up of more minority and low-income students than the national sample of students who serve as the reference group for the Stanford and Aprenda to which all students are compared. In HISD, 92 percent of students are non-white and more than 80 percent are from low-income families. The national sampling of students who set the standard on the Stanford exam, meanwhile, is 55 percent white and 40 percent low/middle income.
“Houston’s teachers have done a great job helping our students narrow the achievement gap that separates them from their peers across the nation,” said HISD Superintendent Terry Grier. “But narrowing the gap is not good enough, and no one on Team HISD will be satisfied until it is eliminated. We must do more to achieve our goal of consistently delivering an academically rigorous education to every child in HISD, regardless of where they live.”
District partners with teachers to launch new curriculum
HISD teachers and principals are preparing this summer to implement a revamped curriculum this fall that they helped create with assistance from experts at the University of Texas’ Charles A. Dana Center, Rice University, and Bellaire’s Neuhaus Education Center. The curriculum is designed to give all HISD teachers the instructional strategies and resources they need to tailor lesson plans to each student’s individual needs.
“We worked with teachers and staff to create a curriculum that meets, and even exceeds, state and national standards,” Dr. Grier said. “We have high expectations for Houston’s children, and we intend to put them in a position to achieve even more under the guidance of strong teachers and principals.”
HISD’s strong academic performance over the past four years led the district to be named among just four national finalists for the highly coveted Broad Prize for Urban Education. The winning district will be announced in October.