BIG SPRING, TX (KWES) - Preliminary STAAR test results are in at Big Spring Independent School District.
Performance is crucial for the district, whose students scored poorly enough on previous standardized tests to land them in hot water with the Texas Education Agency. Big Spring schools are currently under accredited probation and one step away from losing standing as a Texas public school district, according to the TEA.
Administrators discussed preliminary STAAR results Tuesday night during a regular board meeting. Improvement Director Heidi Wagner identified an upward trend "across the board" in reading, but recommended looking into possible curriculum or instructional issues at the elementary level. The district declined to share test scores with NewsWest 9.
Big Spring ISD spokesman George Bancroft said in a statement, "The district is currently evaluating the data to determine areas of strength and concern and will adjust instruction in the upcoming school year in response to our findings. At this time, the district has not received any information from the Texas Education Agency relative to campus ratings or the district's accreditation status. In addition to information provided from the assessment results, the district is consulting with staff, parents and community partners as it develops its annual comprehensive needs assessment and will be referring to that needs assessment as we work to serve our students."
He declined to speak in an on-camera interview.
Board members emphasized during the meeting that "every point counts" when it comes to STAAR testing. They considered asking for writing tests to be re-scored, saying it would "not be very costly" and may yield more points for the district.
"This is just the problem," a former Big Spring public school teacher and parent told NewsWest 9. "They focus on testing and not teaching."
She requested to remain anonymous, but revealed Big Spring ISD's "testing culture" had caused her to leave the district and enroll her children in private school. She cited numerous instances of neglect and said choosing private school was an "investment well worth it."
"I pulled out my first grader [who is] going into second grade," she said. "I had [students at Big Spring ISD who were] scared to death because they're taught that if they don't pass that [STAAR] test, they're failures."