2023 STAAR Data Cut: Student Populations

Score changes in Houston districts for 2023 reflect overall trends but highlight persistent equity gaps across student populations.

In August, Texas Education Agency (TEA) released preliminary STAAR results for each campus and district across the state. 

STAAR is a standardized assessment that measures students’ progress on key academic subjects. Students across grades 3-8 take the test at the end of year. In high schools, students take STAAR End-of-Course (EOC) for core subjects. This year, the STAAR test was redesigned to include more question types to better demonstrate student’s learning. In addition, all campuses across the state shifted to online testing administration.

Good Reason Houston monitors data on student achievement to help inform the Houston community so that leaders make data-informed decisions in service of student learning. We look at the percentage of students who meet or exceed grade-level expectations, providing insights which help us understand how Houston’s school systems are progressing toward supporting all students in pursuing future academic and economic opportunities. 

We recently compiled an early-stage analysis of preliminary STAAR data in the Houston region. To offer a comprehensive perspective, this blog incorporates student population data into our initial district-level analysis, and our findings include the following:

Key Houston Region Takeaways

  • Score changes over time across student populations largely mirrored overall trends in Houston region districts, indicating that growth is not benefiting certain students at the expense of others. 
  • However, significant equity gaps in achievement persist across student groups.
  • Across all districts, students receiving special education services score lowest among student groups on 3rd and 8th grade STAAR tests.
  • In 3rd grade, emergent bilingual students (EB) often score among the highest across student groups in Houston region districts, but those who are still classified as EB in 8th grade and high school do not perform as well as students from other groups.
  • In most Houston region districts, Black students tend to score lower on 3rd and 8th grade exams than students from other race/ethnicity groups, reflecting historical inequities that put these students at a disadvantage relative to their peers. 
  • Students receiving special education services saw declines or smaller gains relative to their peers overall in 3rd grade reading.
  • A smaller proportion of Black students met grade level standards on English 1 EOCs in Yes Prep schools in 2023 compared to 2022, while Yes Prep students overall saw double digit gains on English 1 exams. 

2023 Results by Student Populations

Across 4 districts, EB students scored above average in 3rd grade reading. In every district, students receiving SPED services were least likely to meet grade level standards.

Less than 50% of 3rd graders in each student population met math standards in 2023.

By 8th grade, both EB and SPED students scored lowest on reading exams among the noted student populations.

Across every district except for Galena Park, each targeted student population in the analysis had less than 50% of 8th graders meet math standards in 2023.

Gaps seen in other grade levels on reading exams persisted into high school on English 1 end of course exams (EOCs) in 2023.

Students taking Algebra 1 EOCs in Galena Park ISD performed better across student groups than peers in those same groups from other Houston region districts.

Notable Trends Over Time

Most Houston region districts saw SPED students show less growth or even decline compared to all students on 3rd grade reading. HISD and Spring ISD are the exceptions. 

As on many other exams, Black students’ progress on English 1 EOCs in most Houston region districts mirrored that of their peers. YES Prep is the exception.

* 2023 data was downloaded for all campuses and districts in Houston from the TEA’s Analytic Portal, which was updated 8/16/2023. 2019-2022 data was downloaded for all campuses and districts in the state from the STAAR Aggregate Data portal which reports verified and finalized results.

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