Category Archives: Assessment

Next round of STAAR EOC exams May 4–8

HISD high school students will be taking portions of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) beginning Monday, May 4.

High-school students who are either currently enrolled in or have completed algebra I, biology, and U.S. history will be taking the end-of-course (EOC) exams associated with those subjects.

Make-up test opportunities will also take place during that period (May 4-8). This is the final test administration of the spring season. Re-testing opportunities for EOC exams have been scheduled for early July.

Questions? Visit HISD’s newly updated STAAR website, which has a new FAQ (.pdf), a complete schedule of testing dates, and helpful tips on how to combat test anxiety. Students may also consult with their school counselors with any questions or concerns not addressed on the STAAR website.

Your Voice feedback paves way for school improvement

HISD recently released the results of the 2013-2014 “Your Voice” survey, which gave thousands of students, parents and instructional staff the opportunity to share information on how HISD and individual schools have progressed toward district and campus goals.

The survey, which was conducted for the second year in a row this past May, measures perceptions of safety, rigor and environment within the district. The survey also allows HISD to better understand the needs of its schools and to foster a culture of community engagement that will help guide future initiatives. Continue reading

SAT School Day offered at no cost to high school juniors

Houston ISD students will take the SAT college admission test at district high schools Wednesday, during what is a called SAT School Day. The district-wide initiative gives juniors the opportunity to take the test during a normal school day at no cost.

“This is a great opportunity for high school juniors to overcome barriers of any kind and focus on taking the SAT,” said Assistant Superintendent for College Readiness Rick Cruz. “More than 9,000 students at all HISD high schools will take advantage of the testing day.”

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HISD Board of Education votes to support course in Mexican-American history, culture

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education approved two key resolutions Thursday that will affect high school students across the district. A resolution to include a high school level Mexican-American history and culture elective in the state’s graduation plan passed unanimously. Board members also approved a resolution not to double-test middle school students who are taking Algebra I.

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Parents urged to talk with their teens about PSAT/NMSQT scores

Last October, thousands of HISD freshmen, sophomores, and juniors took the PSAT/NMSQT college-readiness test, and campus staff began distributing the results this month.

Parents are strongly encouraged to discuss these scores with their children, as they can not only help gauge a student’s readiness for college but also identify good candidates for Advanced Placement (AP) classes next semester and, in some cases, determine a student’s eligibility for scholarships.

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What it means if your student’s report card has an ‘NG’

When HISD parents from grades K-12 receive report cards on Jan. 10, they may be finding a new notation – “NG” – that blocks the grade from being seen because of poor attendance.

NG isn’t a reflection of failure – in fact the grade may be passing – but under expanded state requirements for school attendance, the student didn’t put in enough time in class to receive a grade in it.

“Excessive, unexcused absences,” is the official explanation parents will see – meaning the student was missing 10 percent or more of the time the class met. A grade will actually be assigned and recorded by HISD, but it will, in effect, be masked on the report card.

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EMERGE Students See Significant Gains in SAT Scores

Although HISD will not receive SAT results from the College Board until later this year, individual seniors who retook the SAT in October after attending the EMERGE SAT Boot Camp in July are getting their scores and seeing significant improvement – more than 300 out of 2,400 possible points in some cases.

“We are very pleased with the results,” said Assistant Superintendent for College Readiness Richard Cruz, who launched EMERGE in 2011 and continues to oversee it. “We are about to expand the program from 100 to 300 students.” EMERGE is a districtwide initiative aimed at getting high-achieving HISD students in underserved communities into Ivy League and other Tier 1 schools.

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‘PSAT for All’ Initiative Preparing Students Early for Demands of College

Thousands of ninth-graders across HISD began taking the PSAT college-readiness exam this fall as a part of the “PSAT for All” initiative.

Launched in 2003, the program was originally designed to give all tenth-graders a chance to take the test for free. It was expanded in 2010 to include all ninth-graders. All test administration fees are paid for by the district.

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Rice University Study Shows Performance-Based Awards Improve Teacher Attendance, Retention, Students’ Test Scores

Programs such as HISD’s ASPIRE program improve teacher attendance, retention and increased students’ test scores, according to a study released by Rice University.

The study evaluated award-eligible teachers from HISD’s 279 schools to determine if receiving a monetary reward during the 2009-2010 school year positively influenced teacher outcomes in 2010-2011, according to a news release.

The complete report is available on the website for Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

The ASPIRE program (Accelerating Student Progress: Increasing Results and Expectations) began during the 2006-07 school year.

State Releases 2011-2012 STAAR Exam Results for Grades 3-8

New exams measure whether students are on track for college and career readiness

Most Houston ISD students who took the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) in grades 3-8 for the first time in 2011-2012 met the tougher academic challenge.

The Texas Education Agency released the STAAR passing rates by grade level and subject nearly a year after students took the tests during the 2011-2012 school year.  Because this was the first time students were tested under the new STAAR system, the state will not use these scores to rate schools and they were not used for student grade-level promotion decisions last summer.
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