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2012-01-12 digital edition

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2012-01-12 / School

From the Superintendent of Schools

Frances M. McArthur, Ph.D. Lexington ISD

As we move into the second half of the school year in Lexington ISD, our primary focus is to teach students in interesting ways so they will be prepared to enter the post-secondary school of their choice and/or the workforce. The increasing demands of our new state testing system make student engagement critical. Our tremendously talented teachers are working diligently to motivate our students to succeed on these new assessment instruments and in life. While there are many unknowns about the new assessments, we do know they are high stakes tests for our students and ultimately will impact graduation and their admission to the colleges and universities that they hope to attend.

When the Legislature eliminated the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), many people believed that state testing was being diminished.

However, the state testing program was only changing and expanding, and the tests will be much more rigorous and challenging. Beginning in third grade, students in Texas public schools will be taking the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), which is timed. At the high school level, our ninth grade students will be the first group to be held accountable under this new testing system, as well as those middle school students who are taking Algebra I. The high school staff held a parent meeting late in November to review these new requirements with parents and students, but the whole End of Course testing is very complicated, so I urge parents to call Lexington High School and set up a time to meet with Mrs. French, Mr. Wahrmund, or Mrs. Brockenbush if you have any questions about this new assessment.

The law requires that an End of Course Exam (EOC) counts for 15% of a student’s grade in a course and the Texas Education Agency has made it clear that the EOC should be used in the determination of whether a student receives credit for a course. Since we will not have the EOC results until after the end of the school year, credit for the first semester will be “ provisional” until Lexington ISD receives the scores from the state.

While there is no doubt these exams will be challenging, our teachers have tremendous expertise in teaching and I believe that Lexington ISD parents will support our teachers, administration, and staff by insisting on the work and discipline it will require from our students. I appreciate being in a community that takes seriously the responsibility of educating our young people. Together, we will motivate our students to put forth the hard work and grit it will take to attain the mastery required.

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