District is among nation's top 15 in ...

District is among nation's top 15 in gains

There are 7 comments on the El Paso Times story from Feb 25, 2009, titled District is among nation's top 15 in gains. In it, El Paso Times reports that:

Gains in test scores during seven years landed the El Paso Independent School District among the top 15 big-city districts nationwide that are making academic improvements and inching closer to their rural and ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at El Paso Times.

Teachers Rock

Laredo, TX

#1 Feb 26, 2009
Please be sure you to send a copy of this article to ABC7 since they were so quick to expose our teachers' exam scores. They are obviously doing something right. Put that on your Escuelas, Estella!
Way to go teachers!!
Dan Wever

United States

#2 Feb 28, 2009
This has got to be the most meaningless, ridicules, study I have ever tried to understand.
Question: How can you test the 8th grade students in math in 2000 and then test the 8th grade students in 2007 and make any valid comparison between the two groups. Different students give different results and there is no scientific correlation between the two groups of students. You cannot tell why one group does better than the other regardless of what was done.
This study admits they do not know why they came up with the figures they did however when guessing they said it might have been caused by many of the Mayors in Urban Districts taking over the schools.
A few years ago a study came out that said the Hispanic children were closing the gap between White and Hispanic students. When the data was examined it was found that the main reason for the closing of the gap was that the White scores had dropped, thus narrowing the gap.
Below are the TAKS and TAAS scores for the years of the study. If you can look at these and see any improvement then you are smarter than me. Remember a large number of Hispanics moving into non-Urban areas would probably cause the same gain to occur if demographic trends continued on their present course.
I guess school districts are so in need of anything positive they can embrace something they have no control over or even understand and pound their chests and blow their trumpets for attention.

4th Grade Reading English
2007 84.00% 82.00%
2006 83.00% 76.00%
2005 80.00% 79.00%
2004 86.00% 84.00%
2003 82.00% 82.00%
2002 92.50% 90.20%
2001 90.80% 89.80%
2000 89.90% 88.10%

4th Grade Reading Spanish
2007 77.00% 70.00%
2006 76.00% 76.00%
2005 69.00% 64.00%
2004 77.00% 73.00%
2003 72.00% 68.00%
2002 73.20% 65.40%
2001 66.40% 60.70%
2000 58.40% 54.50%

8th Grade Math
2007 73.00% 61.00%
2006 68.00% 52.00%
2005 62.00% 44.00%
2004 67.00% 52.00%
2003 62.00% 50.00%
2002 92.90% 87.70%
2001 92.40% 87.30%
2000 90.20% 84.20%

Seattle, WA

#3 Feb 28, 2009
We need to get away from this idea that test scores alone can evaluate an education system or even one school.

Another case in point occurred in OR. A principle with coaching experience noted that team win/loss records can often be improved more by focusing on those who are not the heroes, but who will be on the field. He picked students who he thought could improve enough to pass the standardized tests and gave them smaller class size, the best teachers, more tutoring, etc. The rest got what remained.

The result was that his school improved fabulously - one of the best in the state.

So, he won. But, is that what we're after?
Dan Wever

United States

#4 Feb 28, 2009
Your question can be answered very simply by saying yes that is exactly what we are after.
When GW was Governor down here he had the 'Texas Mircel


May have to cut and paste.

Seattle, WA

#5 Feb 28, 2009
Dan, so the plan is to give good education to those who might achieve a passing grad on the standardized test, and to ignore those who are doing well or who are not doing well?

You're hoping for a "principle selects who gets left behind" act?

El Paso, TX

#6 Mar 1, 2009
"As a superintendent, I embrace accountability," Garcia said. "I think we have to have some way that we measure of the growth of our students, of our schools, of our district. I don't think it is the only answer but in El Paso we understand the state exam and we know that if you want to have a good teaching and learning plan, where your kids do well, there are some things that are very important for us to focus our energy on."

As a teacher I embrace education. Sure TAKS scores have gone up. Why wouldn't they when teachers are constantly TEACHING THE TEST? The best teaching and learning plan HAS NOT OCCURRED if we're talking about the most authentic and meaningful education. Only teaching the test by teachers--- and the students learning the test---is taking place (no pun intended on "'TAKing' place"). The real question is whether or not students are better prepared for college and life---or just better prepared for taking tests.

El Paso, TX

#7 Mar 1, 2009
My apology if this is posted again. I didn't see it the first time that it was submitted.

The E.P.I.S.D. English Curriculum was sacrificed for TAKS practice-testing.

Instead of textbooks being used, 2 Benchmark tests and 1 MOCK TAKS were assigned by the Superintendent.

For the entire 2nd six weeks of the Fall Semester some classes didn't even use textbooks. And this was after teachers sat down during what is known as a PLC (Common Planning...for Learning?)to "chart" the day-by-day and week-to-week Lesson Plan. Most of it could not be followed because the Superintendent gave these practice tests.

Because of these practice tests, teachers and students couldn't focus more time and energy on the writing and editing processes of essays and short answer questions. ONLY CONCENTRATE ON those TEKS that are TAKS-tested.

After one test was given, then came another---and then another---and teachers and students had little time to even review and go over the results of these tests.

In spite of all, teachers still do their best to teach. Students and teachers are warriors who follow their commanders. The battles may be won, but will the war?

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