HISD touts improving test scores, but district performance dropped, nonprofit says

Shannon Ryan Image
Tuesday, January 23, 2024
HISD touts improving scores, but performance dropped, nonprofit says
Children at Risk's assessment of Houston ISD shows a declining performance despite the district touting improving scores.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A nonprofit's assessment shows the Houston Independent School District's performance dropped last school year, while recent test scores the district shared with ABC13 show it may be improving this year.

The assessment conducted by Children at Risk found that more than 75% of Houston ISD schools ranked lower last school year than the year before. The assessment uses a number of metrics, including student performance relative to the poverty level.

"In the two decades of doing this, we've always seen for low-income kids - which, in the Houston area, 70% of our kids are coming from low-income families - we have seen sort of a slow growth of kids doing better and better, especially in those high-poverty areas. This year, it didn't happen. So, there was more of a stop this year (and) more of a plateau. The pandemic was a part of that, but the other part of that is our state legislature," Children at Risk President and CEO Bob Sanborn said.

Data from recent Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) exams shows that 60% of students at New Education System schools met their targets, and 55% met them at non-NES schools.

Houston ISD Superintendent Mike Miles told ABC13 he believes the test scores prove that the New Education System model is working.

"The headline for me and the staff is that the kids did great, and when kids do well, that means teachers stepped up. So, overall, the NWEA is a national test, so we did well above average for the nation's NWEA scores," Miles said.

Still, both Sanborn and Miles stressed that while the NWEA data is positive, there isn't much of it.

"(We) have to footnote always. One set of data does not make a trend. So, we've got a long way to go. A lot of celebrations for the kids and teachers this week, right, as a district. (But) we've got a long way to go," Miles said.

SEE ALSO: 13 Investigates: Parents, students give new Houston ISD system mixed grade

Our 13 Investigates team is keeping in touch with Houston ISD families this school year to see how the New Education System is impacting them.

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