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Lubbock ISD follows State in testing scores, has plan to close learning gaps

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 10:36 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - With school starting back up next month, Lubbock administrators say they have a plan to tackle learning loss caused by COVID-19. While STAAR tests are usually intended to look back on a school year, now they’re going to help set the agenda for next year.

“I don’t believe that this is irreversible. I think it’s going to take some time and some strategic planning and obviously some resources, which we’re grateful to have now. But, I don’t think it’s something that we will not overcome. We will overcome,” Lubbock ISD superintendent Kathy Rollo said.

Rollo says she’s grateful the state is using STAAR scores differently this year.

“It’s really helping us reestablish a baseline and target individual skills that kids need and we’ll be able to intervene. So, the assessment data is really going to be important to us moving forward,” Rollo said.

That intervention includes federal funding and a robust summer school with more students than usual for the next three years. Intensive interventionists will work with small groups and there will be more high impact tutoring across all campuses.

“Most of our kids were here with us face-to-face all year and I’m grateful for that because I think we would’ve seen sharper declines from 2019 if the students had been virtual longer,” Rollo said.

Lubbock ISD started with about a third of students learning virtually, dropping to less than one in ten by the end of the year. In a statewide comparison of STAAR tests from 2019 to 2021, TEA results show districts with mostly virtual learning suffered the most. In districts with fewer than 25 percent in person most of the year, students who met math test expectations dropped by 32 percent. In reading, they dropped by 9 percent.

However, in districts with more than 75 percent in person, students who met math expectations only dropped by 9 percent, and in reading that was down by just 1 percent.

“Lubbock ISD saw a little bit of a dip in reading but not near as drastic as what it could have been. Math, we did see quite a dip and so we know we have some areas to address there,” Rollo said.

Rollo says test scores for middle schoolers were hit the hardest. One group of students beat the state odds.

“The state saw a huge dip for our Spanish-speaking students. Lubbock ISD, our Spanish students did extremely well, much better than 2019,” Rollo said.

At Frenship ISD, 16 percent of students started the school year online, dropping to less than 5 percent in May. The following is a statement from the district on STAAR testing:

“Despite the many learning disruptions caused by COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 school year, Frenship ISD teachers remained committed to providing a premier education for our students.

Even with the challenges of the pandemic, virtual learning, and social emotional impacts, Frenship ISD students continued to score, on average, higher than the region and state. Overall, Frenship maintained performance rates from 2019 with only slight dips in a couple of grade level assessments.

However, rather than focus on a single test on a single day, Frenship ISD is, and will always be, focused on each individual student and providing them a quality education to prepare them for their future. We recognize the COVID-19 pandemic has caused learning loss, and Frenship ISD continues to use a variety of tools to identify learning gaps and address individual student needs. We do not rely on a single test score.”

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