HISD Stalls in Reading on Nation's Report Card, Sees Math Gains

Categories: Education

In Grade 4 reading HISD students overall average 208, which is below the large city score of 212 and the national average of 221. While white students in grade 4 scored slightly above the national average, black and Hispanic students were below it. The gap between English-speakers and limited English learners was 22 percentage points, an increase over the 2011 scores. Eighth grade results mirrored those in fourth; white students in HISD were ahead of the national average, blacks and Hispanics were lower.

And the gap between English and limited-English speakers was 35 percentage points.

Math offered happier if not joyous news. By breaking the students down into ethnic groups and a free/reduced price lunch group, HISD was able to show its students demonstrated higher average scores than similar student groups in other school districts across the country.

And as Gohl repeatedly pointed out, HISD is one of the most diverse school districts in the country which means it has a different mix than many other more homogeneous school districts.

For instance: In the Grade 4 Math test where 80 percent of HISD students met the basic level of achievement, Houston came in with an average scale score of 236 (out of a possible 500) which was just above the national average for large city schools of 235. It was below the national overall average of 241. HISD's black students scored 227 compared to 224 among blacks nationally. Hispanics in HISD scored 235 compared to 230 among Hispanics nationally. White students in HISD average 261 while the national average among whites was 250.

What also bears looking at is the change in scores over time. In the ten years since 2003, HISD's Grade 4 math scores have risen from 227 to 236, an 11 percentage point gain. In that same time, blacks have risen from 221 to 227 in ten years and Hispanics from 226 to 235.

There doesn't seem to be a lot of progress in closing the equity gap between non-English speakers and English speakers on the fourth grade math test. The gap was 9 percentage points in 2003, ten years later it's 11 percentage points. Still, HISD's number are much better than nationall wheter the gap has increased over ten years to 25 percentage points.

In the eighth grade results Houston was below the national public average but above the large city average scores. The gap there between the district's English speakers and limited English speakers was 26 percentage poins, down from a high of 36 percentage points in 2007 but about the same as it was in 2003. It compared favorably, though, with a national gap of 40 percentage points.

The final part of the HISD report addressed levels of achievement by students. For instance, while 52 percent of fourth grad readers met the basic standard of 208 out of 500, 19 percent reached the "proficient" level of 238. In eighth grade reading while 63 percent of students met the "basic" standard of 243, 18 percent met the proficient level of 281.

In math, 32 percent of HISD fourth graders reached proficiency and 28 percent of HISD eighth graders.

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Only 19% of HISD fourth graders read at the "Proficient" level.

Somewhere, somehow, some way nine school board members are trying to figure out how this translates into yet another bonus for that educational visionary, Terry Grier.

Merry Christmas, everybody! 

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