Glen Rose ISD faculty and staff are touting students’ scores received recently from the Texas Education Agency.

Nancy Moore, GRISD’s director of curriculum and instruction, presented this year’s preliminary scores from the reading portion of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge & Skills (TAKS) test during last week’s school board meeting, reporting that scores continue to increase.

“We had excellent results from our third, fifth and eighth grade students,” said Moore. “We had more ‘Commended’ scores than we’ve ever had.”

The GRISD administrator reported that Commended performance is the highest performance level set by the State Board of Education on the TAKS test. Students who achieve Commended performance have performed at a level that is considerably above the state passing standard and have shown a thorough understanding of the knowledge and skills at the grade level tested.

Although the scores have not been recorded as official, local administrators and faculty are proud of the performance on the reading portion of the TAKS test, including Superintendent Wayne Rotan.

“Congratulations on the outstanding scores on the third, fifth and eighth grade reading TAKS tests,” Rotan said in an email to the district’s faculty and staff. “All of your hard work and dedication paid off. The Intermediate and Junior High campuses are well on the way to achieving an Exemplary rating.”

According to the preliminary scores provided by Rotan, 95.14 percent of local third grade students passed the reading portion of the TAKS, compared to 88 percent of all Texas third graders.

Locally, 55 percent of third graders received a Commended Performance rating, while just 38 percent statewide received the highest rating.

In the fifth grade, Glen Rose students achieved a 92.15 percent passing rate in reading, compared to 88 percent statewide. Locally, 37.25 percent of students had a Commended performance, while just 29 percent of Texas fifth graders earned that rating.

The superintendent also said that the current fifth graders improved their pass-rate as 88 percent of the students passed the TAKS reading as fourth graders.

Rotan also reported that 92.5 percent of eighth graders in GRISD passed the TAKS reading exam, just above the 92-percent pass rate statewide.

Of the local eighth graders, 58 percent were Commended scores, compared to 51 percent across the state.

The eighth grade’s test scores improved in 2008, Rotan reported, after the same students had an 81-percent pass rate as seventh graders - 4 percent below the state average.

“Congratulations on the outstanding gains that you have made with the students of Glen Rose ISD. There is no substitution for success; it takes hard work and dedication from the teachers and students,” Rotan told the faculty.

During an initial review of the TAKS reading scores, Moore informed the board that scoring gaps in the district’s sub-populations seems to be closing. “We’re as proud of closing the gaps as we are of the scores themselves.”

The TEA will provide districts statewide with a full report in the coming weeks that breaks down TAKS scores based on race and socio-economic levels, after which school systems are charged with narrowing the performance gaps in their student body sub-populations.