The Malakoff Independent School District has plenty to celebrate this week after their preliminary district status was announced from the Texas Education Agency.
For the third consecutive year, the students at Malakoff ISD raised their Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test scores to give the district a Recognized rating.
According to TEA, preliminary results from the 2010 TAKS show that passing rates on the standard test rose at grades 3-5 and 7-11 and that an overwhelming majority of the Class of 2011 passed the exit-level state exams required for graduation.
TAKS is a standardized test used in Texas primary and secondary schools to assess students' attainment of reading, writing, math, science and social studies skills required under Texas education standards.
It is developed and scored by Pearson Educational Measurement, with close supervision by the Texas Education Agency.
Though created before the No Child Left Behind Act was passed, it complies with the law. It replaced the previous test, called the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills or TAAS, in 2003.
“We are very excited that we have improved each year, and this year we are going to be a Recognized District for the first time,” Malakoff Superintendent Dr. John Spies said. “I feel like we have established a very good structure for our teachers here.
“With the help of the board, we are able to pay better than a lot of districts, but at the same time, I feel like our principals offer a very good working environment for the teachers.”
TEA is scheduled to release the official results in August. It appears from the preliminary data that the District will miss the highest rating of Exemplary by only one student.
The campuses will all be either Recognized or Exemplary. Malakoff Elementary had the highest overall scores, and will be Exemplary.
In all of the rated areas, 98 percent or more of the students passed the tests. It is anticipated that all of the other campuses will be in the high Recognized range.
There is a strong possibility that the High School will be moved to the Exemplary category after the state considers an appeal the District is filing.
“We had a student during the year that was moved to the alternative campus, and he was counted against the high school scores,” Spies said. “We don’t feel that this student should be counted at the high school, since he was moved, and I think TEA will see that, and the high school will be Exemplary.”
The most significant gains throughout the district over the last few years are from the African American and Hispanic groups in the subjects of mathematics and science. The passing rates in several of these categories have more than doubled over the last three years.
“I think a lot of the improvement stems from our extracurricular activities,” Spies said. “For the past three years, the band has been a Sweepstakes winner, and the football and basketball teams have been in the playoffs. All of that feeds to the classroom, and the teachers encourage students in all their activities.”
Spies said Malakoff teachers are given what curriculum they are to teach, but are able to teach it how they choose.
“Our teachers do a great job of helping students by Benchmark testing every six weeks,” Spies said. “This is one way of letting a teacher know what areas a student needs some help. I really think this has helped us improve, and be successful in the TAKS.”