Policy Implications: Replacing the Reading TAKS Cut Scores with the Common Core Curriculum Reading Cut Scores on Three Middle School Campuses
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As school accountability intensifies, school districts strive not only to prepare their students to meet the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates, but also to prepare students for college and careers after high school. Understanding the necessary reading rigor to ensure academic success is key for educators. Although Texas opted not to adopt the Common Core Curriculum Standards and the accompanying Stretch Lexile measures for reading that require higher reading levels at each grade, Texas educators must still prepare students for academic success. This study determined how the use of more rigorous Lexile standards found in other states and associated with the Common Core Curriculum Standards would affect passing scores on Texas reading assessments in grades 6-8. The population for this study included three middle schools during the 2010 school year within one large suburban school district. State reading assessment data collected from these three schools included students' scores from grades 6, 7, and 8. A Chi-square Test for Independence determined that there was statistical significance for some groups of students in the accountability system: all students, Hispanic students, and economically disadvantaged students. Each of these groups was found to pass at a significantly lower rate when using the Stretch Lexile standard. Results were also examined in terms of political, economical, educational, and social policy implications. The policy implications discussed in this study are far-reaching for Texas educators and students, especially economically disadvantaged and Hispanic students. The higher standards can potentially trigger the school improvement process for campuses and districts failing to make NCLB's required adequate yearly progress. Additional expenses related to supplemental educational services, school choice, and professional development drain district Title I budgets due to mandatory set-aside amounts, disallowing funds for other student-centered programs. Implications for practitioners include clearly establishing intervention systems, adhering to a multi-tiered intervention system, and providing a screening tool for teachers so that progress monitoring can be accomplished for students as they move toward more rigorous reading expectations that will result in college and career preparedness.
Common Core Curriculum Standards
Stretch Lexile standards
Thaemlitz, Kristi (2013). Policy Implications: Replacing the Reading TAKS Cut Scores with the Common Core Curriculum Reading Cut Scores on Three Middle School Campuses. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from