Dr. Beasley was the Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum for the Port Arthur Independent School District from 2006 to 2009. Below is data from the Texas Education Agency ‘s (Texas’s DOE) Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS). The Texas TAKS system is similar to Georgia’s DOE Made AYP system.
Dr. Beasley’s performance parallels that of many DCSS classroom teachers. That is to say, sometimes his results are/were up in some areas, years, and grade levels and sometimes they are/were down. Port Arthur was rated Academically Acceptable the three years Dr. Beasley was head of instruction.
Take a look at some of the data that IMHO are important when assessing Dr. Beasley’s past performance in Port Arthur as indicative of his future performance for Dekalb County students. To verify this data, click here.
Type in Jefferson in the county field. Select Port Arthur ISD when the next page loads. Corrections are appreciated – This was a lot of data to crunch!
A. School Demographics:
- Port Arthur is a diverse system of 9,238 students with 48.7 % African American, 41.3% Hispanic, 3.7% White, .38% Native American, and 5% Asian students. Hispanic students represented the greatest rise in percentage of students between 2006 – 2009.
- The teacher demographics are almost equally divided between African American and White with a small percentage of Hispanic and Asian teachers.
- Port Arthur’s Economically Disadvantaged student percentage although considerably higher than the state average is decreasing. In 2006, 84.5% of the students were classified as Economically Disadvantaged. In 2007, 83.9% of students were classified as Economically Disadvantaged. In 2009, 80% were classified as Economically Disadvantaged.
B. Teacher Turnover rate:
1. From 2006 to 2009, the teacher turnover rate decreased in the state of Texas but increased in Port Arthur:
Turnover Rate for Teachers:
2006 -2007: 17.8% - Port Arthur 15.6% - Texas
2007 – 2008: 17.7% - Port Arthur 15.2% - Texas
2008-2009: 18.5% - Port Arthur 14.7% - Texas
2. From 2006 to 2009 the average years of experience of teachers decreased and percent of less experienced (beginning teachers in their first year of teaching) increased:
Average years of Experience of Teachers:
2006 – 2007: 13.0 yrs.
2007 – 2008: 13.0 yrs.
2008 – 2009: 12.3 yrs.
Percent of Beginning Teachers (teachers in their first year):
2006 – 2007: 6.3%
2007 – 2008: 9.9%
2008 – 2009: 10.5%
C. Criterion referenced test scores:
Reading and math scores declined in some grades and maintained and increased in others. The second test administration (i.e. retaking the test) pulled all scores up. This was pretty impressive. The Texas Education Agency requires that:
“All students who fail one or more sections of the TAKS are placed in a TAKS Acceleration class that meets daily.” This occurs for Grades 3 through 11.
The difference in the first attempt at the test and the Retake scores would indicate that small groups of struggling students served daily by certified teachers had a positive impact on student achievement in Port Arthur and indeed throughout the state of Texas. Would enlisting DCSS Instructional Supervisors, Instructional Coaches, and other non-teaching certified personnel to directly teach DCSS struggling students on a daily basis have a similar impact for our students?
Science fared well overall, although scores still lagged behind the state and region. Science and math tended to have the lowest scores of the content areas. We experience that in DCSS as well as do many school systems.
See a few examples:
1. 3rd Grade students
Reading scores (English)
2006: 84% (State: 90%) Retake: 89% (State Retake: 94%)
2007: 84% (State: 89%) Retake: 88% (State Retake: 94%)
2008: 80% (State: 89%) Retake: 89% (State Retake: 94%)
2009: 81% (State: 90%) Retake: 88% (State Retake: 94%
2. 5th Grade students:
Reading scores (English)
2006: Reading: 72% Retake: 82% Math: 71% Retake: 83%
2007: Reading: 71% Retake: 80% Math: 69% Retake: 81%
2008: Reading: 71% Retake: 82% Math: 67% Retake: 78%
2009: Reading: 72% Retake: 80% Math: 66% Retake: 79%
3. 8th Grade students First test administration:
2006: Reading: 74% Math: 51%
2007: Reading: 79% Math: 50%
2008: Reading: 86% Math: 57%
2009: Reading: 87% Math: 63%
4. 11th Grade students First test administration:
2006: English: 77% Math: 62%
2007: English: 81% Math: 59%
2008: English: 78% Math: 59%
2009: English: 82% Math: 65%
D. Science scores moved up overall, but still lagged behind the state and region. Science and math tended to have the lowest scores of the content areas.
See some examples of science scores from 2006 – 2009:
2006: 5th: 71% 8th: 42% 10th: 28% 11th: 59%
2007: 5th: 63% 8th: 47% 10th: 35% 11th: 53%
2008: 5th: 66% 8th: 45% 10th: 38% 11th: 67%
2009: 5th: 70% 8th: 49% 10th: 35% 11th: 71%
E. Other indexes were mixed in success. For example, the Graduation rate increased, SAT scores increased by 2%, and ACT scores decreased by 5%:
Class of 2006: 76%
Class of 2007: 80%
Class of 2008: 80.3%
Class of 2006: Port Arthur: 794 State: 991
Class of 2007: Port Arthur: 820 State: 992
Class of 2008: Port Arthur: 813 State: 987
Class of 2006: Port Arthur: 17.6 State: 20.1
Class of 2007: Port Arthur: 16.6 State: 20.2
Class of 2008: Port Arthur: 16.7 State: 20.5
Columbia High School did not make AYP in any area last year (2009 -2010) with Dr. Beasley at the helm although truthfully one year is not enough time for anyone to make a significance difference. Principals need to stay for at least 5 years to even begin to effect change, something that is not happening in DCSS.
Scores for Columbia’s Economically Disadvantaged students in 2009 - 2010 were lower than in 2007-2008. Port Arthur is very different in school system structure than DCSS. They have a smaller system (10% of the size of DCSS) with less highly paid administrators, one period of the school day with dedicated teachers working with small groups of struggling students per the TAKS policy, and smaller class sizes. Are these the factors that allow Port Arthur students to be more successful on the Retests and thus increase overall scores? Perhaps Dr. Beasley is hoping that the benchmark tests can be used in the same way and regular education classroom teachers can “fill in the gaps”, but an antiquated technology system that requires teachers to manually scan hundreds of answer sheets and increased class sizes make this impractical and probably impossible. A shift in thinking in DCSS is in order.