Doubting Data

The effects of last year’s school shutdown on academic performance is still being debated and determined, El Campo Assistant Superintendent Delores Trevino, above, told trustees last session while presenting the best numbers available.

El Campo schools have about 10 percent more economically disadvantaged students than the state average, and local administrators say that number may be even higher due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Annually, ECISD administrators present the Texas Education Agency’s Texas Academic Performance Report to trustees for the previous school year. At Thursday’s public hearing, Assistant Superintendent Dolores Trevino presented an overview of the report, explaining how it differs from previous years in light of the pandemic.

“As you know, it was a year like none other, so that did impact our data and the access to different data that we have,” Trevino said at the meeting.

This year’s report does not include student STAAR performance information, since the test was canceled in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic, or a distinction designation, which is awarded to schools with outstanding achievement compared to other schools of similar demographics, for the district.

In the 2018-2019 report, ECISD received a distinction designation of postsecondary readiness.

High numbers of economically disadvantaged students have always been reported at El Campo schools. In the 2019-2020 report, ECISD had 70.5 percent, or 2,547, economically disadvantaged students. Statewide 60.2 percent of students were rated as economically disadvantaged in the same time period.

“I can tell you, with COVID-19, we’re looking at about 73 percent, so we’ve gone up as far as economically disadvantaged students,” Trevino said.

Texas schools also did not receive academic accountability scores due to the pandemic, instead being labeled “Not Rated: Declared State of Disaster.”

The 2019-2020 TAPR report shows ECISD’s attendance rate for 2018-2019 at 94.9 percent, which is 0.5 percent below the state level and 0.2 percent below the Region 3 area of schools.

Attendance for African American students at ECISD matches the district score of 94.9 percent, while Hispanic and white students had attendance rates of 94.5 and 96 percent, respectively.

Economically disadvantaged students showed 94.5 percent attendance while Special Education students had an attendance rate of 92.7 percent. SPED students had the greatest change in attendance rate of the categories from the previous year with a 2017-2018 rate of 93.6 percent.

Dropout rates for 2018-2019 at the state and district level were 0.4 percent and 0.0 percent, respectively, while they were higher for 9th through 12th grade students at 1.9 and 0.5 percent, respectively.

At ECISD, dropout rates for 9th through 12th grade were 1.4 percent for African American students, 0.4 percent for Hispanic students, 0.3 percent for white students, 0.0 percent for SPED students and 0.7 percent for economically disadvantaged students. English Learners had the biggest change in dropout rate since the previous year for ECISD, with a rate of 2.0 percent in 2018-2019 and a rate of 0.0 percent in 2017-2018.

ECISD’s college, career and military ready graduates rate was 78.4 percent for the 2018-2019 year, which was above the state’s average of 72.9 percent.

ECISD’s overall grade of “Needs Assistance” for the special education program did not change from last year’s report. Out of four total categories, this level is the second only to “Meets Requirements” and is one step above “Needs Intervention,” which is what ECISD was rated in 2018.

The district’s criminal incident report showed no violent or criminal incidents for the 2019-2020 school year. ECISD also shows no instances of criminal incidents in the year prior, with categories including use or possessions of illegal weapons, murder, indecency with a child, aggravated robbery and more.

The criminal incident report is based on specific legal definitions and TEA codes for disciplinary action.

“This is what TEA uses to determine if a school is persistently dangerous or unsafe,” Trevino said. “As you can see, (in) our data we are not showing that we have any of those incidents.”

TAPR is based on students’ STAAR test scores, the Public Education Information Management System, as well as basic data collected on the district.

ECISD trustees took no action on the report and will consider approving it at an upcoming meeting. The board’s regular monthly meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 26.

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