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Fort Stockton ISD will implement ability grouping starting in January

Math and reading classes within the district will soon be grouped according to students' test scores.

FORT STOCKTON, Texas — A new year will bring new changes for Fort Stockton ISD. Math and reading classes within the district will soon be grouped according to students' test scores.

This is called ability grouping, which was approved by the Fort Stockton ISD school board at Monday's meeting.

NewsWest 9 spoke with Gabriel Zamora, Superintendent for FSISD. He said the multiphase plan will start with the grades 5th and under. He hopes this gives an opportunity to students to improve their test scores and not fall behind in the education system.

"The data that we have does show that we are below significantly where the state is performing," said Zamora. "Even more concerning is that we are below where our region is scoring at too."

Zamora said this change was caused by recent exam scores in the district.

"Locally, we have our data management system that we utilize to administer scores," said Zamora. "Also, online assessments by using some of the exam releases from previous years."

Zamora hopes this new change allows for students and teachers to have a more centralized learning environment.

"This focuses on the students and the level they are performing at," said Zamora. "Students are around the same comprehension point as everyone else so they can move a little quicker. Rather than differentiating in the same room, those kids can move at the pace they are capable of moving."

Zamora told NewsWest 9 the plan is set, but district leaders will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the program.

"We are looking at phasing it in the 5th grade and down and see what happens," said Zamora. "If we are successful, if this shows positive results, then we will move forward in the 2022-2023 school year as implementing it as a district wide program."

School leaders hope this change in the system has more impacts in the long run.

"Our kiddos have to do well on the ACT and SAT if the want to get into the best universities and ivy leagues out there," said Zamora. "I want to prepare them regardless of what their potential is so they reach it."

Zamora said there is a system in place that will allow parents to request for their kids to be retested at certain points like when they receive progress reports. The teachers and staff will reevaluate where the students can be. This multiphase plan is scheduled to start in January 2022.