CISD to receive 'Unacceptable' rating following error

Commerce – Commerce ISD Superintendent Blake Cooper reported that Commerce High School will be rated as Academically Acceptable in a Texas Education Agency (TEA) report to be released later today. The rating is based upon the results of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests that were taken last spring.

Of the 16 measures used, CHS earned 11 exemplary, 4 recognized, and 1 academically acceptable rating.

"We are excited about the progress we are making in the academic areas of our high school. We are not where we want or expect to be, but we have had a good start to our efforts." Cooper added, "CHS was within 2 students passing the Math portion of the test to be a Recognized campus. CHS teachers and students, under the leadership of campus administrators, worked very hard last spring to improve student achievement. CHS is very close to being a Recognized campus and we will not be satisfied until we reach the goals we have for our campuses and our district."

Commerce Middle School TAKS tests results showed 12 measures with an Exemplary rating, 5, Recognized, and 2, Academically Acceptable. A.C. Williams Elementary and Commerce Elementary will be Recognized campuses based on student performance on the TAKS tests.

Cooper noted, "District-wide, our lowest scores were in the areas of Math and Science. Consequently, we are emphasizing Science and Math as we prepare our 2009-2010 plan, designed to enhance district-wide improvement in all subject areas.

The district earned an Academically Acceptable rating in all academic areas, with 22 of 24 measures being either Exemplary or Recognized. Although Commerce Independent School District showed tremendous progress in academic performance as evidenced by these ratings, Commerce ISD will receive an overall Unacceptable rating.

The CISD Unacceptable rating is a result of the student dropout rate. At the beginning of the school year, one student was inadvertently enrolled at two campuses due to coding issues, ultimately resulting in that student being identified as a dropout at Commerce Middle School. Thus, Commerce Middle School will also receive an Unacceptable rating.

Upon learning of the coding error, administrators immediately began the process of appealing to Texas Education Agency. However, appeal results will not be available until September.

"We don't want this initial rating to slow the positive momentum happening in our schools. This has absolutely nothing to do with our progress academically," Superintendent Cooper said. "Many outstanding teachers and administrators, along with our students and parents, have placed us within reach of the Recognized status."

The state accountability system is based on far more than test results. It takes into account other measures such as completion rates, dropout rates, income level, and population subgroup performance.

"It is critical to recognize that all data is important in the TEA accountability system. One student incorrectly coded can have dire consequences." Cooper continued, "I want to emphasize again that this situation is in no way a reflection of the job being done academically in CISD. This data coding error is regrettable, but correctable. The thing we must remember as we go through the appeal process is that this is a strictly a data problem and has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of academics we are providing the students of CISD."

Cooper stressed that internal measures were being initiated to ensure the integrity of all student data. Staff will receive additional training and communication will be enhanced to avoid future problems.

The TEA will release all school district ratings at 1:00 p.m. Friday. That information will be posted to