Despite academic achievement gains for African American and Latino students made after test-based accountability was implemented in Texas during the 1990s, overall student performance continues to lag, according to a policy report released by the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis (IUPRA) at The University of Texas at Austin.
Dubbed the “Texas Miracle,” dramatic achievement gains by African American and Latino students across grade levels were shown by data collected from the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) and Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exams.
That perceived success of test-based accountability gave us “a false sense of security” regarding achievement in our schools, according to the authors of the report. “Considering that the ultimate goal of our schools is frequently framed as college and career readiness by the Legislature, it appears that our current system is not meeting those goals.”
The study’s authors Julian Vasquez Heilig, associate professor, and Richard J. Reddick, assistant professor, both in the College of Education and faculty affiliates of the department of African and African Diaspora Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, and Su Jin Jez, assistant professor of public policy and administration at California State University in Sacramento, examined state-released K-12 and higher education data in conjunction with data from national sources. They compared Texas with the other most populous states and also ranked the Lone Star State relative to all other states. Each of the most populous states — Texas, New York and California — performed worse during the past decade relative to other states.
To promote college and career readiness, the report recommends that policymakers focus on equitable funding for Texas schools (K-12 and higher education) relative to other states and stop depending solely on high-stakes testing as a measuring stick of the state’s educational progress.
“In the upcoming legislative session, there must be attention paid to the need for more equitable resources for low-income school districts,” said King Davis, IUPRA director. “Without this attention, the Texas Miracle will continue to be a nightmare for these students, their communities, and the state as a whole.
To read this IUPRA policy brief, visit: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/insts/iupra/Briefs.php.