Valley school districts boosted test scores last year

Brownsville Independent School District Superintendent Rene Gutierrez speaks to students at Faulk Middle School on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. (Miguel Roberts | The Brownsville Herald)
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HARLINGEN — The state’s new report cards show the Rio Grande Valley’s biggest school districts boosted their test scores over the previous year’s grades, while most posted slightly lower grades than the Texas average.

The Texas Education Agency’s 2022-23 Academic Performance Reports are measuring student performance on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, test, reflecting student achievement and progress.

But this year, a lawsuit stopped the TEA from releasing its ratings based on its new “A” through “F” grading system.

“The issuance of 2023 A-F ratings under the final 2023 rule is pending and subject to change based on judicial rulings or decisions from the 88th Legislature during a special called session,” the agency stated in its new report.

In August, the Edinburg school district joined a group of districts in a lawsuit challenging the rating’s methodology.

“The A-F System is designed to recognize excellent student achievement and effective educators and encourage better performance,” the lawsuit stated. “But without knowing what measures, methods and procedures will be applied, school districts cannot take steps during the school year to ensure that they are taking steps to achieve high performance ratings based on the measures, methods and procedures that will be applied.”

This year, the TEA’s rating system includes school district’s test scores combined for “all grades, all subjects — at approaches grade level or above,” along with overall reading and mathematics scores.

Raymondville

Across the Valley, the Raymondville school district posted some of the region’s best scores, with 83% of its students approaching their grade levels or scoring above, up from 81% the previous year.

The district continued climbing the state ranks, with its 83% score beating state and regional averages, posting at 76%.

In reading, 84% of students approached their grade levels or scored above, while 83% scored at those levels in mathematics.

Brownsville

In Cameron County, the Brownsville school district’s results show 78% of students approached their grade levels or scored above, up from 75% the previous year.

The district’s 78% mark beat the statewide average along with Region 1 districts’ average scores, posting at 76%.

In reading, 78% of students approached their grade levels or scored above, while 77% performed that those levels in math.

A San Benito student seen in class on Aug. 31, 2021. (Courtesy: San Benito CISD)

Harlingen

In Harlingen, 76% of students approached their grade levels or scored above, up from 74% the previous year.

With its 76% score, the district matched averages across the state and region.

In reading, 78% of students approached their grade levels or scored above, while 72% performed at those levels in math.

San Benito

In San Benito, 70% of students approached their grade levels or scored above, up from 65% the previous year.

Despite climbing to 70%, the district remained below 76% of districts across the state and region.

In reading, 69% of students approached their grade levels or scored above, while 70% performed at those levels in math.

McAllen

In Hidalgo County, the McAllen school district’s results show 80% of students approached their grade levels or scored above, up from 79% last year.

This year, the district’s 80% grade beat state and regional averages, posting at 76%.

In reading, 82% of students approached their grade levels or scored above, while 80% performed at those levels in math.

Students walk through the halls of McAllen ISDs Achieve Early College High School on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Edinburg

In Edinburg, 76% of the district’s students approached their grade levels or scored above, up from 74% the previous year.

This year, the district’s 76% score matched state and regional averages.

In reading and math, 76% of the district’s students approached their grade levels or scored above.

Mission

In Mission, 69% of the district’s students approached their grade levels or scored above, up from 65% the previous year.

Despite climbing to 69%, the district remained below state and regional averages scoring at 76%.

In reading, 70% of students approached their grade levels or scored above, while 68% performed at those levels in math.

Pharr-San Juan-Alamo

At the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo school district, 74% of students approached their grade levels or scored above, up from 71% the previous year.

With its new 74% score, the district remained below state and regional averages scoring at 76%.

In reading, 73% of the district’s students approached their grade levels or scored above, while 74% performed at those levels in math.

Weslaco

In Weslaco, 74% of students approached their grade levels or scored above, up from 71% the previous year.

This year, the district’s new 74% score remained below state and regional averages scoring at 76%.

In reading and math, 73% of students approached their grade levels or scored above.

Students walk through the halls of McAllen ISD's Achieve Early College High School on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])
A San Benito student seen in class on Aug. 31, 2021. (Courtesy: San Benito CISD)