Staff Writer

The Glen Rose School District is rated “academically acceptable” by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Superintendent Wayne Rotan said the district is showing overall improvement.

“The kids and the teachers always work very hard,” Rotan said. “They come in before and after school to get ready for the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills).”

The TAKS is a statewide-standardized test used to gauge student development. Students begin taking the test every year in the third grade. If they pass the TAKS their sophomore year of high school, students do not have to take the test again. However, they must past the high school level test before they can graduate.

Rotan said teachers have done an excellent job of preparing the district’s students for the TAKS, but it is a difficult undertaking.

“It’s frustrating because you’re chasing a moving target,” Rotan said. “The legislature changes the rules every year and it’s tough to keep up.”

TEA categorizes districts and campuses based on indicators. Rotan said not every school is judged by the same indicators. Each indicator represents a subgroup and each subgroup must have at least 30 students in that specific group per campus with a total of 50 students in that district.

Smaller schools may not have the numbers needed and, therefore, are exempt from counting the scores of certain indicator groups.

“We had 20 indicators,” Rotan said. “Nine of those scored high enough to be exemplary, 10 scored high enough to be recognized and we had one indicator that scored academically acceptable.”

Rotan said a district’s rating is based on the lowest scoring indicator, giving GRISD an accountability rating of “academically acceptable.”

“It is frustrating because I know how hard everyone works,” Rotan said. “But we have to work with the system we’ve got and we’ll just roll up our sleeves and keep going. We did have two campuses ranked individually as recognized: the Elementary and the Intermediate.”

The Glen Rose Elementary scored a 95 percent average for all students taking the reading portion of the test, which is up two percent from 2007. They scored a 97 percent on the writing test, which is the same as last year. Math scores went up by one percent to 94 percent for all students. And science scores stayed the same at 88 percent. All groups must score at least 75 percent to earn the recognized rating.

The Glen Rose Intermediate School improved their reading scores by two percent in 2008, earning 95 percent for all tested students. Writing scores stayed the same at 97 percent. Math scores went up to 94 percent from 93 percent in 2007. Science scores again stayed the same at 88 percent.

The Glen Rose Junior High School showed improvement in most areas. Reading scores went up to 95 percent from 89 percent in 2007. Writing scores jumped to 95 percent in 2008, up from 83 percent in 2007. Junior High students are also tested in Social Studies. They scored 93 percent in 2008, which is up by three percent. Math scores also rose by three percent to 90 percent. Science scores went from 68 percent in 2007 to 70 percent in 2008.

Rotan said the science scores were particularly frustrating. This is the first year TEA has counted the science scores of eighth graders as part of the overall rating. Rotan also said the passing requirements for the science portion of the TAKS are different from other parts of the test.

“The passing requirements differ in that they are higher for the science test,” Rotan said. “The TAKS-Alt counts as part of the overall score, whereas it is not figured into the scores of other tests.”

The TAKS-Alt is a modified form of the TAKS test. It was developed as a way to test children who may have difficulty taking the regular TAKS test due to learning disabilities.

The Glen Rose High School posted at 93 percent on the reading test, which is down one percent from 2007. Social Studies also fell by one percent to 90. Math scores, however, rose by two percent to 78. Science scores jumped from 65 in 2007 to 78 percent in 2008.

The district also lost fewer students in 2008.

“One student dropping out is too many,” Rotan said.

The district reported a 97.4 percent completion rate in 2007, which is up from 94.3 percent in 2006. Figures for 2008 completion rates are not yet available.