In Houston, reading is up, math recovery is much slower, especially in middle and high school.
Aug. 16, 2023 – This morning, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released preliminary STAAR results for each campus and district across the state. This data serves as a first-look into the results, but will be further verified and shared in a final release by the TEA in late September.
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, which helps us understand how students are progressing toward future academic and economic opportunities down the road. In our early-stage district-level analysis*, we found the following:
- Elementary schools in Houston, on average, are underperforming state averages in both math and reading with 44% of third graders on-grade level reading and 38% on grade-level in math. However, we see notable progress in reading over the past few years. Since 2019, 6 out of 9 Houston-area ISDs had consistent year-over-year growth in 3rd grade reading and all ISDs have met or exceeded pre-pandemic levels.
- Middle schools in Houston, on average, are underperforming state averages in both 8th grade math (33% meets/masters compared to 44% statewide) and 8th grade reading (46% meets/masters compared to 56% statewide). On average, 8th grade math has dropped by 15 percentage points since 2019.
- While most school systems in Houston saw an increase in Algebra 1 scores since last year, there remains a sizable post-pandemic drop. Several districts have had increases in scores since 2021, including Alief, Aldine, Channelview, HISD, Pasadena, Sheldon, and YES Prep.
- Most districts saw gains in the English 1 EOC, with the exception of HISD, which saw a slight drop (-1% points from 2022). English 2 EOC results were less consistent, with only Pasadena and Galena Park showing gains since 2022.
- HISD saw a small decrease in 3rd grade reading and a small increase in 3rd grade math since 2022. At the middle school level, student achievement dropped with 28% of 8th graders on grade-level or above in math (-3% points from 2022) and 47% in reading (-8% points from 2022).
- When compared to Dallas ISD (DISD), the second largest district in the state, Houston ISD had comparable performance in 3rd grade reading and math. The percentage of students who achieved meets/masters on 8th grade math, however, lags DISD by 12 percentage points (28% for HISD compared to 40% for DISD).
In the weeks to come, our data and analytics team will continue to dig deeper into campus-level data to better understand where there might be bright spots or important trends to note in order to educate and inform our community.
* 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.
** A prior version of this blog post had utilized Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPR) data for the 2019-2022 comparisons. This data includes STAAR results for a slightly smaller group of students, only including those included the state’s “accountability subset.” To make more accurate direct comparisons to STAAR Preliminary results, we updated the data source to STAAR Aggregate for prior years. For more information on TAPR and the accountability subset of students, please see the TAPR Glossary from 2021-2022: https://rptsvr1.tea.texas.gov/perfreport/tapr/2022/glossary.pdf