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Local School Districts' STAAR Scores Around State Average

School districts across the state are receiving their initial scores for the STARR test: the state's new and tougher end-of-course exam for public schools.  Most school officials says scores show a lot of work needs to be done if today's freshmen hope to graduate.  Although local scores are about the same or below state averages, officials say they're pleased with the initial scores.
    The scores are in, and now it's time to evaluate how Texas public high school freshmen did on STAAR: the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.
    Maureen Talbott, coordinator of assessment for City View ISD, says, "Compared to the state average, City View was very close in all of the areas.  We were slightly below average in all of the end of course assessments."
    Denise Williams, director of assessment for Wichita Falls ISD, says, "Overall we're pleased with the results.  There is work to be done.  We're in the ball game all the way across."
    City View ISD freshmen scored below the state average in the five subject areas but were within a few points in each subject.
    Wichita Falls ISD ninth graders scored either at the state average or just a couple points below the average percentage in each of the five subject areas.
    One subject students across the state seemed to struggle with is writing.
    "The writing is totally different this year.  Where they were able to write two pages worth of information and elaborate, now they have to write very concisely," Williams says.
            Teachers haven't seen any actual STAAR tests only some sample questions and won't get to see a full tests for three years.
    They've only seen a few sample questions and writing prompts and have to structure their curriculum based on those questions.
    Both Talbott and Williams say they and the rest of their district's representatives share the same goals: to do everything they can to give students the resources they need to bring their scores up.
    "I've already been talking with the principal at great lengths about what we can do differently," Talbott says.  "Do our teachers need different training?  Do we need different resources?"
    "At least now we're familiar.  We've been introduced to the test and we know what areas we need to starting focusing on to get ready for next year," Williams says.
    The Texas Education Agency recently sent individual student scores to the school districts.
    Each district will send those scores directly to students homes.
    Those we spoke with today say they're hopeful parents will receive their students' scores by the end of this week.
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