If you are not convinced by the warm temperatures that spring is here, just ask a Mason High School student or staff member what their calendar looks like for the next four months! It’s hard to believe the end of basketball season is near and golf, tennis, track, UIL academics, One Act Play, Band contests, stock shows, FFA contests, baseball and softball are already beginning (or well under way in some cases). It always amazes me the number of students we have involved in multiple activities, and even though they are so busy, they still manage to rank above the state average, by a sizeable margin in most cases, in all state testing.
The state released the scoring standards for grades 3-8 tests administered in the spring of 2012 late in January. Once again our students performed very well. I am excited about our results and am extremely proud of our students and staff members. It takes a lot of dedication from both groups to achieve such results. I have included a chart below for your reference.
Test Mason % passed State % passed
3rd grade Reading 91 76
3rd grade Math 91 68
4th grade Reading 94 77
4th grade Math 100 68
4th grade Writing 89 71
5th grade Reading 87 77
5th grade Math 87 77
5th grade Science 89 73
6th grade Reading 85 75
6th grade Math 83 77
7th grade Reading 87 76
7th grade Math 81 71
7th grade Writing 85 71
8th grade Reading 91 80
8th grade Math 79 (84 ##) 76
8th grade Science 91 70
8th grade Social Studies 80 59
# # including 8th graders taking Alg.I
To further explain the 8th grade Math results, fourteen 8th graders were enrolled in Algebra I and did not take the 8th grade Math test but rather took and passed the Algebra I End of Course (EOC) exam. The 84% is with those 14 students included in the passing student group.
The high school scores were received during the last week of the 2011-12 school year. The students under the old system of the TAKS test had the fantastic results we have come to expect. The students who were tested under the new STAAR (State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness) EOC tests also outperformed the state averages on every test. Now that those students who were not successful on the first administration in the spring of 2012 have had an opportunity to retest, we have a 98% passing rate on all of the 5 required freshman-level tests. I believe that is also a great achievement. Now we get ready to take another round!
While we are on the subject of testing, I am encouraged that our legislators have been listening to school officials and parents about reducing the number of tests our students are required to take and pass, making our accountability system less complex with some local control and changing the graduation requirements to give students more flexibility and choice if they are not planning on attending a four year college or university. There are some interesting bills being introduced in both houses addressing those issues.
There have also been bills introduced regarding voucher systems or school choice. These bills would funnel taxpayer money away from public schools to fund private or charter schools which currently are not held to the same accountability standards as public schools such as Mason ISD.
The other area of concern during this legislative session is school finance. On Monday, February 4, 2013, Judge John Dietz ruled the State of Texas’s school finance system was inequitable, inefficient, inadequate, unsuitable, and imposed a statewide de facto property tax. The state is expected to appeal this verdict to the Texas Supreme Court where it will take months to settle so it is unlikely school districts will know what our funding situations will look like until summer. This will again make it difficult to prepare budgets for next school year. The good news is the state revenue figures are much higher than they were two years ago.
As I conclude, I would like to take one more opportunity to congratulate all students, staff and parents of MISD for an outstanding job done on the tests for the spring of 2012 and say keep up the good work! We continue to expect excellence in everything we do from the classroom to all competitive arenas and beyond. Thanks for making this a great place to live and work.