Preliminary HISD STAAR scores show strong gains across multiple grades, subjects, and student groups

Houston Independent School District students showed strong gains that exceeded those made by the state in third- through eighth-grade reading and math, and on end-of-course (EOC) assessments in English I and Algebra I, according to preliminary 2018 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) scores.

“This year, our students made significant progress on the state-mandated STAAR tests,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “We are excited about what these preliminary results mean for our schools labeled by the state as Improvement Required and our district’s accountability ratings. HISD is shifting course and turning schools around. We know that it is critical that we continue our commitment to strengthening the supports in place to further advance our progress in student achievement.”

Overall, the spring administration of the 2018 STAAR grades 3-8 assessment results indicate the district held steady or showed increases in the percentage of students meeting the Approaches Grade Level standard in reading, math, science, and social studies.

Students receive a performance label of Masters Grade Level, Meets Grade Level, Approaches Grade Level, or Did Not Meet Grade Level on each STAAR assessment. The Approaches Grade Level label indicates satisfactory (passing) performance while the Meets and Masters labels indicate higher levels of achievement on assessments.

Reading results increased by three percentage points compared to 2017. Changes ranged from no change in grade seven to a six-percentage point increase in grade five.

Mathematics results increased by three percentage points compared to 2017. Changes ranged from no change in grade seven to a five-percentage point increase in grades four and eight.

District science performance in 2018 increased one percentage point compared to 2017. Grade five had a one percentage point increase, and grade eight stayed the same.

At the high school level, HISD students took nearly 79,000 STAAR spring EOC assessments. Texas students are required to pass five STAAR EOC exams – Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History – to receive a high school diploma.

Results show the proportion of first-time tested students who performed at or above the Approaches Grade Level Standard increased in four of the five subjects (Algebra I, Biology, English I, and English II) and remained steady in U.S. History. The district’s increases exceed those of the state in Algebra I and English I.

The results also show that the percentages of first-time testers at or above the Meets Grade Level Standard and the Masters Grade Level Standard increased in Algebra I, English II, and U.S. History when compared to last year.

The percentage of students at the Masters Grade Level Standard increased in Biology, while the percentage of students at or above the Meets Grade Level Standard increased in English I.

Performance gaps between White and African-American and White and Hispanic students decreased slightly or remained stable for Algebra I, English I, English II, and U.S. History.

Between 2015 and 2018, the proportion of students performing at or above the Meets Grade Level standard increased for every racial/ethnic group in every subject. These increases range from one percentage point for Asian students on the Biology EOC exam to 15 percentage points for African-American students on the Algebra I and Hispanic students on the U.S. History EOC exams.

More than half of HISD students scored at or above the 50th percentile for the state in Algebra I (52 percent), U.S. History (51 percent), English II (53 percent), and English I (56 percent), and less than half in Biology (44 percent).

All reported STAAR scores include results for students impacted by Hurricane Harvey. In December 2017, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath removed the requirements for state promotion standards which would require STAAR retests in fifth and eighth grade reading or math in June 2018 for students who had not yet passed both subjects for districts within the Presidential Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Harvey.

On June 6, 2018, Morath announced school districts, campuses and open-enrollment charter schools directly affected by Hurricane Harvey would be eligible for special evaluation in this year’s state accountability system if they meet one of four criteria.

Under the agency’s Hurricane Harvey Provision, 2018 accountability ratings will be generated for eligible districts, charter schools, and campuses using available data. If a campus meeting at least one of the Hurricane Harvey criteria receives an “Improvement Required” rating, the campus would be labeled “Not Rated.” Districts can appeal any accountability-related decision, including the issuance of waivers. Appeals would likely be decided in late 2018.

Under House Bill 22, school districts will get their first A-F letter ratings in August 2018. However, schools will still be rated as Met Standard or Improvement Required. Schools will be given an A-F rating for the first time in August 2019.

HISD 2018 STAAR Results (English and Spanish Test Versions Combined)

Percentage indicates percent of students who met state’s current satisfactory passing standard of Approaches Grade Level.


Grade 3: 69 percent

Grade 4: 62 percent

Grade 5: 70 percent

Grade 6: 61 percent

Grade 7: 65 percent

Grade 8: 70 percent


Grade 3: 73 percent

Grade 4: 74 percent

Grade 5: 78 percent

Grade 6: 71 percent

Grade 7: 64 percent

Grade 8: 70 percent


Grade 4: 55 percent

Grade 7: 58 percent


Grade 5: 68 percent

Grade 8: 66 percent

 Social Studies

Grade 8: 54 percent

HISD 2018 STAAR End-of-Course Exam Results

Percentage indicates percent of first-time tested students who met state’s current satisfactory passing standard of Approaches Grade Level.

Algebra I:  81 percent

Biology:  82 percent

English I:  64 percent

English II:  65 percent

U.S. History:  89 percent

HISD’s data shows that strategies implemented to reverse a decade-long downward trajectory in STAAR scores are working. The district will continue to bring together effective teachers, strong leadership, and an environment of high expectations to transform the learning environment at each school and continue to show strong gains on STAAR assessments.