Monday, May 26, 2008

The TAKS scores are here: Victory!

After a seemingly endless wait, our TAKS scores arrived last week. My principal seemed to skip into my room as soon as the first trickle of information came in: our overall percentage for 9th grade math was over 50%, a clear improvement over last year. Our 10th grade scores had surpassed 60%. This was the only information she had, much to the chagrin of the Pre-AP class I had at the time, but it came with the promise of more good news to come.

After the news of the overall scores, we soon received another report which listed all of the students who tested, but only shows a mere YES or NO as to whether they passed, failed, or achieved "commended performance". I received this information during the last period of the day, and my students probably would have burned me at the stake if I didn't give them this very limited information immediately. To be honest, I couldn't really do anything else other than look up their results either, because I had been waiting for almost 3 weeks. That class did extraordinarily well, and after school I couldn't wait to pore over the results.

The final tally: 52% of my students passed the test. While you may see this number and wonder why the jubilation, you have to understand the context:
  • We beat the campus: Overall, 51% of the 9th graders passed the math test at my school.
  • We beat the district: Our campus had the highest scores of the 3 high schools in our district in every subject, math included.
  • We beat history: Last year, only 45% of my students passed the test (48% overall in the 9th grade).
On the other hand, that kind of passing rate also means a lot of disappointed students who tried their best but didn't pass. I had one student run out of the room in tears, who returned later and told me that they were upset because thought they had let me down. I asked this student, "Did you try your best?" "Well, yeah..." they said. "Then I'm proud of you," I responded, "because that's all I've ever asked of you."