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The 2010 NCEA Higher Performing Schools List Highlights Texas Schools that Are Beating the Odds in S
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 • Posted February 9, 2011

(Austin, TX - January 27, 2011) The National Center or Educational Achievement (NCEA), a department of ACT, Inc., released its 2010 NCEA Higher Performing Schools List for Texas on its public website this week. The list identifies NCEA Higher Performing Schools - those elementary, middle and high schools that have consistently outperformed their peers that serve similar student populations - and recognizes their achievement in bringing more students to college and career readiness than expected.

Mason High School was one of those schools recognized for its mathematics achievement.

The 2010 Higher Performing List conveys a strong message to schools and districts across the nation - all students can achieve at high standards and school improvement is possible no matter the zip code. On the list appear several schools with high poverty levels, defined as those with at least a 50% low-income population. MacArthur Nine Grade School in Aldine Independent School District in Houston, Texas, is one such school and has consistently made the list in one or more state-tested subject areas for the last three years (2008, 2009 and 2010).

"Making the list, and esepcially in all subjects, is a great achievement for these schools. With education reforms focused on higher standards and higher accountability measures such as the coming of the STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness), these higher performing schools show us that all students can, and will, get there," says Efrain Mercado, Director of Outreach at NCEA. "Our Texas educators are doing great work, but if we want every student to graduate with the skills to be successful beyond high school, there's still more work to do. The schools on this list show us that Texas is making college and career readiness a priority." Notably, for the spring 2010 TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) testing, fewer than 1%, or 77 of the state's public schools, were higher performing in all grades and tested subjects.

Schools on the list are identified by one of two measures: academic growth of students at the school and/or absolute achievement of students at the school using the TAKS' Commended Performance level. The measures exemplify not only those schools that are able to improve their student performance from previous years but also those schools that push their students beyond the Met Standard (passing) level - a level that is typically too low to accurately measure student preparedness for postsecondary learning. NCEA's identification of Higher Performing Schools is more selective than the Texas Education Agency's Exemplary or Recognized list and comprises fewer than 10% of public schools in the state.

NCEA (formerly known as Just for the Kids) began identifying Higher Performing Schools in 1998 and continues to annually release these lists as well as College and Career Readiness Charts for every public school in Texas.

To view the 2010 NCEA Higher Performing Schools List for Texas, please visit

To learn more about how NCEA identifies Higher Performing Schools in Texas, please visit

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