The Robstown Independent School District was rated "Academically Unacceptable" by the Texas Education Agency's accountability ratings, but at least one campus missed out on an "Exemplary" rating by just one percentage point.
Trustees for the school district received a presentation from curriculum director Amanda Millhouse during an Aug. 11 meeting. During her presentation, she showed the different scores for each campus that had taken the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.
Lotspeich, San Pedro, Hattie Martin and Salazar elementary schools all received "Recognized" ratings for their respective campuses. Lotspeich Elementary, however, missed out on an "Exemplary rating by one percentage point in the reading category, with 89 percent of Hispanic students who took the test passing.
Millhouse said one student of mixed ethnicity who had been categorized as "White" and passed his TAKS test likely cost the district the "Exemplary" rating.
"We missed it, pretty much, by one student," Millhouse said.
The campus also benefited from a new measurement the TEA has begun using this year known as the Texas Projection Measure. This is an estimate of how likely a student is to pass TAKS at the next "high-stakes" grade level based upon a statistical formula. It can also increase a district or campus rating by one level, such as from "Acceptable" to "Recognized."
This is most evident with Lotspeich's mathematics scores, which have 76 percent of all students passing the exam without TPM being factored in. With it, the math scores rise to 91 percent, with reading and writing scores all benefiting in the same way and putting the campus in position to obtain an "Exemplary" rating.
TPM helped raise all of the campus's scores above 90 percent, with the only exception being the 89 percent of Hispanic students passing the exam in reading. Without TPM, math scores at Lotspeich fell from 82 percent for all students in 2008 to 76 percent in 2009.
Ortiz Intermediate School was rated "Academically Acceptable," missing out on a "Recognized" rating due to science scores that were below the 75 percent mark the state requires for that rating, Millhouse said.
Seale Jr. High School was also rated "Academically Acceptable," with low science scores being the reason for the campus missing out on a "Recognized" rating, Millhouse said. Without TPM, the campus's overall science scores were at 47 percent, though that was a 7 percent increase from last year, she added, which met the state's required improvement mark.
Robstown High School was rated "Academically Unacceptable" by the TEA due to its completion rate, meaning the number of students who obtain their diploma after four years at the high school or re-enroll to continue their education, Millhouse said. The high school's overall completion rate was at 66 percent, with the state standard being 75 percent.
Millhouse said one of the factors for the low figure is the TEA is no longer allowing districts to count students pursuing a general educational development degree.
Other factors include students who do not pass the TAKS test and dropouts, she added.
RHS principal Julio Rangel said the campus will start taking a more proactive approach to address the low completion rate, including formulating a plan to reduce the dropout rate and urging students to complete their classes without resorting to having to obtain a GED.
"We're going to have to tell them (getting a GED) is not an option anymore," Rangel said. "We'll have a three-pronged approach to this issue."
The district's overall completion rate, which stood at 67 percent, caused the district to be rated "Academically Unacceptable," Millhouse said.
Despite this year's rating, the district's overall TAKS scores have seen an increase since 2005, with each subject seeing jumps of as much as 15 percentage points over that five-year span, Millhouse said.