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Waco ISD’s graduation rates and end-of-course exam scores continue to climb

WACO, TX (June 14, 2024) -- Despite changes in accountability ratings and state testing structures that have increased score requirements for passing grades, Waco ISD is applauding its students for their success on STAAR and End-of-Course (EOC) exams. The district also saw an increase of 1.3 percentage points in its graduation rate this year. Waco High School’s graduation rate climbed to 86.6 percent, an increase of three percentage points. University High School’s graduation rate held steady at 88.7 percent. The largest increase came in the district’s Hispanic population of students at 87.9 percent, up from 85.6%.

Waco ISD students taking the EOC biology exam boosted the district’s passing scores by seven percentage points from 73 percent to 80 percent. The percentage of students passing the U.S. History exam jumped three percentage points up to 91 percent. Although Algebra I scores dropped by two percentage points, more than 100 Waco High students who failed the eighth grade STAAR math passed the test on their first attempts as freshmen. Overall English II scores saw a two percent increase with the percentage of students meeting the requirement. In College and Career Military Readiness, Waco ISD increased its rate of students’ readiness for success beyond high school by six percentage points through increased numbers of students passing Industry Based Certification exams and improved results in college readiness testing. 

“While there is room for improvement, I am proud of the progress of our high school students. The system of interventions that we are using is resulting in academic growth,” Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon said. “We have developed curriculum scope and sequence documents in collaboration with teachers to provide equitable academic instruction for all students while ensuring that we are aligned to state standards. Across the district, we have more than 65 academic interventionists who work with students in small group settings to ensure that they are successful.”

For younger students, Waco ISD STAAR scores held steady overall with increases in third grade, fifth grade, and eighth grade reading. Eighth grade math scores also increased by five percentage points.

“We are projecting that 14 of 18 elementary and middle school campuses have increased their overall campus scores,” Kincannon said. “This is significant because Waco ISD’s campus score increases are directly correlated to student growth. While a student may not have met the new, higher state passing standard in a subject area, the campus received credit for each student’s growth on the new, more rigorous STAAR exam. It is harder than it has ever been to attain credit for growth in the state’s accountability system. Our work to implement academic support structures such as Opportunity Culture where skilled teachers are mentoring their peers on instructional improvements and the Reading Recovery Program that has been developed over the last several years ensure that students are achieving academic growth.”

Individual STAAR scores become available today for viewing by students and parents and EOC scores may also be viewed. To view their children’s scores, parents should log into the Waco ISD parent portal or visit the Texas Education Agency website at https://www.texasassessment.gov/families.html.