More than half of Beeville ninth-graders and about the same number of 10th-graders flunked the math portion of the TAKS exam during the 2007-08 school year.
Beeville junior high students didn’t fare much better on the math test.
Just-released results of the state-mandated exit exam also revealed that less than half of eighth-graders and 10th-graders passed the science portion of the Texas Assessment of Skills and Knowledge Exam.
Beeville ISD administrators shared the results of the exam with trustees during a board meeting Tuesday.
“Some of the scores we are not as happy with as others, but there are some things to be happy about,” said Nancy Jones, curriculum director of the school district.
Students districtwide passed the reading, writing and social studies portions of the exam, according to the report provided by the Texas Education Agency.
That is to say, at least 70 percent of the students at each grade level passed those portions of the TAKS test.
However, the report reveals that in many areas fewer students passed the exams during the last school year than students statewide.
And Beeville students who took the exams this year did not perform as well as Beeville students who took the exam in 2007.
The test scores will be used by the TEA to help determine the school district’s accountability rating later this year.
Depending on their test scores, dropout rates, attendance rates and other factors, school districts and campuses are ranked as exemplary, recognized, acceptable or not acceptable by the state.
At least 70 percent of Beeville students in grades 3-11 passed the reading portion of the state exam.
However, Beeville students at every grade level except grade six scored below their peers at the state level on the reading test. Sixth-graders in Beeville tied sixth-graders statewide on the reading section of the TAKS test.
Beeville students in grades three through six and 11 as a whole passed the math portion of the exam. However, only 59 percent of students in grade 7, 61 percent in grade 8, 45 percent in grade 9, and 51 percent in grade 10 passed the math section of the TAKS test.
Again, Beeville students in all grade levels except fourth scored below their peers statewide on the math portion of the exam.
Beeville students in grades four and seven, the only grades tested, passed the writing section of the test.
Ninety-one percent of Beeville fourth-graders and 88 percent of all seventh-graders passed the writing exam.
Ninety-one percent of fourth-graders statewide and 90 percent of seventh-graders passed the writing portion of the TAKS.
Students in grades five, eight, 10 and 11 were tested for their science knowledge.
Sixty-eight percent of Beeville fifth-graders passed the science portion of the exam, as did 45 percent of eighth-graders, 46 percent of 10th-graders and 75 percent of 11th-graders.
Statewide, 81 percent of fifth-graders, 68 percent of eighth-graders, 64 percent of 10th-graders and 80 percent of 11th-graders passed the science test.
Students in grades eight, 10 and 11 were tested on their knowledge of social studies.
A total of 79 percent of Beeville eighth-graders passed the social studies portion of the exam, as did 84 percent of 10th-graders and 92 percent of 11th-graders.
On the other hand, 90 percent of eighth-graders statewide passed the social studies exam, as did 88 percent of 10th-graders and 95 percent of 11th-graders across the state.
Why the drop?
The drop in test scores from one year to the next in grades five and six could be a result of moving the fifth-graders to the elementary campuses last fall and the sixth-graders to the junior high campus, Jones surmised.
She said the grade shift is expected to improve student performance in the years to come.
“We firmly believe these are changes that will make a big difference,” she assured trustees.
A.C. Jones High School Principal Joe Reyes said there were no excuses for the poor test scores at his campus.
He said he spoke with his faculty and staff before they left for the summer and informed them of his disappointment and expectations of higher scores in the future.
“I assure you folks we are going to work extremely, extremely hard,” a contrite Reyes told the board. “The staff knows it is totally unacceptable. I want y’all to know it’s unacceptable and I, for sure, want the city of Beeville to know that is not the direction we want to go.”
A mere 45 percent of Beeville ninth-graders passed the math portion of the exam this spring. Likewise, only 51 percent of 10th-graders passed the math exam, according to the study.
Statewide, 60 percent of ninth-graders passed the math test and 63 percent of 10th-graders passed that portion of the test.
Seventy-five percent of the Beeville 11th-graders who took the math test passed it, compared to 79 percent of their peers statewide.
“There’s going to be a ton of work,” Reyes promised the board, dismissing reports that the low scores could have been the result of too few teachers or other causes.
“You can have all the reasons you want but to have scores like this, for the type of kids that we have, for the faculty we have and then for the support you give us, this is totally unacceptable,” he said, noting that he planted a seed with his faculty and staff after reviewing the poor test scores. “The message went out very strong and very firm that we cannot have scores like this at A.C. Jones.”
Only 46 percent of A.C. Jones 10th-graders passed the science portion of the exam, compared to 64 percent of sophomores statewide.
And 75 percent of 11th-graders passed the science exam, compared to 80 percent of the juniors across the state.
“I want y’all to know the administration at the campus is really going to take a look at a lot of little things,” Reyes vowed. “They can have all the reasons this past year, but whatever they did in the past, like I said, it’s time to shift our paradigm, move a different direction, and go a different route in order to not have scores like that again.”
Fifteen A.C. Jones High School seniors and 20 students from the Learning Resource Center were not allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies in May because they had not passed all the portions of the TAKS exam.
Beeville junior high school students also performed poorly on the math and science portions of the TAKS test during the last school year.
Fifty-nine percent of Beeville seventh-graders and 61 percent of Beeville eighth-graders passed the math exam, compared to 76 percent of seventh-graders and 82 percent of eighth-graders statewide.
A lowly 45 percent of Moreno eighth-graders passed the science portion of the exam this spring, compared to 68 percent of their peers statewide.
School board President Nick Cardenas wondered aloud how the poor scores would affect the school district’s accountability rating.