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Preliminary TAKS reports show high marks for Denton ISD

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For the second year in a row, it appears that Lantana’s two elementary schools will attain Exemplary status from the Texas Education Agency on July 30.

Preliminary results of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) indicate that the Denton Independent School District as a whole should attain Recognized status, school officials said Thursday.

“The real credit for these outstanding results goes to the hard work of our students and teachers. Additionally, I want to commend the efforts of our campus and district leaders as well as the efforts of the many wonderful volunteers and mentors that support our schools,” Superintendent Ray Braswell said.

At the campus level, the number of Exemplary and Recognized schools each increased from 10 to 13.

All five of the elementary schools in the southern portion of Denton ISD are predicted to receive the Exemplary rating including: Blanton, Hawk, Pecan Creek, E.P. Rayzor, and Stephens.

All nine of the district’s secondary schools are predicted to receive Recognized status. The two middle schools in the southern portion of Denton ISD include Crownover and Harpool, with Guyer High School achieving the Recognized rating for a second consecutive school year.

“We are predicting that more of our schools will achieve these higher ratings – even in a year when the rating standards for Recognized schools increased from a 75 to 80 percent passage rate for all accountability groups,” Dr. Braswell said. 

The number of schools attaining higher status increased because students outscored the previous years’ results in almost every accountability level. The district showed improvement in 26 of 27 grade level assessments with the gains being five percentage points or higher in 19 assessments.

“The district’s bench-marking practice, which is a curriculum-based assessment, allowed teachers to see students’ results throughout the school year so they could better prepare them for TAKS,” Dr. Mike Mattingly, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and staff development,  said. 

The highest gains were in math at the sixth, ninth and 10th grade levels and in 11th-grade science, where students increased their passage rates by 11 to 15 percent.

“We are proud of our science scores. The district utilized federal stimulus funds to focus on science at all levels. For example, we provided science academies at the elementary level,” Dr. Mattingly said.

During the summer, the Texas Education Agency will review other data, such as completion rates and dropout rates to determine a final rating for each school and district.
 
Denton ISD was rated Recognized from 2002 through 2004 under the previous testing program, Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS).

Under the TAKS system, the accountability standards have increased every year. The indicators include students’ results in reading or English and language arts, writing, math, science and social studies. Students are ranked in one or more groups: all students, Hispanic, African American, white and economically disadvantaged.

The more diverse and larger the district, the more accountability indicators a district is required to meet. In the TAKS standards, Denton ISD must meet 25 of the 25 accountability groups.  The TAKS is TEA’s assessment and promotions standards, which has been phased in for the past eight years.

Current high school seniors must pass the exit level TAKS test – English/Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science – to graduate from high school.

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