Commerce – Although news headlines point out that Commerce High School has received an Unacceptable rating from the Texas Education Agency, there's more good news than bad regarding the latest results of the TAKS administration last spring.
Both elementary schools received a Recognized rating. AC Williams Elementary School, Commerce Elementary School and Commerce Middle School scores in Reading/Language Arts, Writing and Social Studies reached the Exemplary status. Mathematics and science continue to challenge all student groups. Plans for improvement are being developed and shared with the Board of Trustees in September.
At the district level, improvement was shown in 23 of the 25 measures evaluated. Even in areas where performance dropped, it was less than five points, with totals remaining in the recognized status. The district narrowly missed the exemplary mark in Reading/Language Arts, Writing and Social Studies.
Measures are counted by subject area and student groups. There are five tested areas: Reading/Language Arts, Writing, Social Studies, Mathematics and Science. In each subject area, five student groups are identified. For example, Reading/Language Arts includes five measures: all students, African American students, Hispanic students, White students and economically disadvantaged students.
Commerce High School received an Unacceptable rating based on one score. African American math scores did not reach the 50 percent passing standard set by TEA. In a comparison of 2007 to 2008 testing, the number of African Americans taking the test dropped from 67 to 37, increasing the accountability level for each one. An analysis shows that if one more African American student had passed the math TAKS, the rating would have at least been acceptable. Teachers and administrators are currently working on plans to increase math scores across the board.
Only 18 measures were evaluated at CHS because not all student groups had the required 30 participants for counting purposes. Increases were made in 14 of the 18 areas measured.
At Commerce Middle School, gains were made in all but four of the 19 areas measured. All losses were four points or less. Concern at CMS is for science with 38 percent African American students passing when 45 percent is the minimum for passing. In mathematics, students are poised to pass at CHS with no student group scoring below 71 percent passing.
Elementary schools increased in 12 of 16 areas. The accountability rests on ACW because no TAKS testing is conducted at CES. Percentage of students meeting the passing standard in Reading/Language Arts was 93 percent, Writing 95 percent, Mathematics 86 percent, and Science 76 percent.
Unacceptable is unacceptable; however, the district's parents, staff and community have much to be proud about the performance of CISD students. A new school year brings a renewed spirit of improvement in all areas.