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City Council passes resolution defending and supporting Lewisville ISD’s STAAR fight

Lewisville ISD Notes
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2016/5/3 4:30:00 (2045 reads)

Open in new windowOpen in new windowBy STEVE SOUTHWELL

The Lewisville City Council unanimously passed a resolution Monday night supporting the Lewisville Independent School District, in its efforts to get reimbursed for expenses to re-score incorrectly scored STAAR tests.

As The Lewisville Texan Journal previously reported, the district discovered discrepancies when it received results of the December 2015 STAAR end-of-course exams in English I and II— two of the five EOC exams that students have to pass in order to graduate high school.


Numerous students were found to have been scored with zeroes in the short-answer portion of the test, even though they had high scores on essay questions. When 160 exams were sent back for re-scoring at the district’s expense, 20 percent of them came back with improved grades.

The school board approved up to $48,250 to pay for rescoring of more exams, but the district contends that because the scores were not reliable, that the state or ETS, the scoring contractor, should pay for the rescoring. A letter from TEA to the district late last week denied relief for the district.


Lewisville Councilman TJ Gilmore requested that the resolution be added to the agenda Monday night.

“The testing regime and the failure to effectively fund our public schools both continue to damage communities,” said Gilmore.

“Unless we stand up and support schools as a city, the Legislature may continue to think this is just a schools problem. It's not. it's a community problem.”

LISD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Beth Brockman and school board member Kronda Thimesch both spoke to the council in favor of the resolution.

“We appreciate your support and value Lewisville as a trusted partner,” said Brockman.

Thimesch also provided LTJ with this remark:

"LISD is like the canary in the tunnel. We are the first out of a handful of districts who tests earlier because of our accelerated block. We appreciate this resolution on behalf of our LISD students because there may very well be districts across the state in the same predicament after they get their results. Having the Lewisville City Council partner with us makes a difference for our community."

STAAR critics have expressed concern that what happened to LISD might be an early indicator of a problem that could be widespread later this year when spring results are announced.



Resolution:

WHEREAS, for more than a century, Lewisville public schools have been providing a quality education for local students; and

WHEREAS, the City of Lewisville tremendously values its strong relationship with the Lewisville Independent School District as a partner in building high quality of life and a thriving and prosperous community; and

WHEREAS, it has recently come to the City’s attention that Lewisville ISD – at its own expense, costing the taxpayers of Lewisville ISD – has uncovered serious grading errors in a significant sample of state standardized tests administered to local students during the 2015-16 academic year; and

WHEREAS, these standardized test scores are the primary means of state-assigned “grades” for public school campuses, and a pattern of errors in grading raises doubts about the validity of any campus designations that are based on those test scores; and

WHEREAS, final accountability for local public schools should rest with local school boards and the local taxpayers who elect them.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LEWISVILLE, TEXAS, THAT:

SECTION 1.
The City of Lewisville declares its unwavering support for the educational efforts of the Lewisville Independent School District and proudly affirms its valued partnership with Lewisville ISD in building a better community.

SECTION 2. The City of Lewisville expresses its sincere concern raised by the grading errors recently uncovered by the Lewisville Independent School District, and the resulting doubts it creates as to the lack of validity for any individual campus assessments that might be assigned based on those tests.

SECTION 3. The City of Lewisville supports the Lewisville Independent School District in its efforts to promote fairness and consistency in the state testing system and to seek restitution for the expenses it incurred attempting to correct grading errors made on the state standardized tests.

SECTION 4. This Resolution shall become effective from and after its passage.

DULY PASSED AND APPROVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LEWISVILLE, TEXAS, ON THIS THE 2nd DAY OF MAY, 2016

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