South San Antonio ISD Celebrates Significant Gains in STAAR Test Scores

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) is a standardized test in our state that assesses 3rd through 11th-grade students across 27 tests in subjects like reading, math, science, and social studies. Aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), these tests gauge students’ comprehension levels, pinpoint areas needing curriculum support, and measure grade-level success.

The table below compares our district’s performance from last spring to this spring with state and regional passing rates. Notably, out of 27 tests administered, our district saw improvement in 18 tests, contrasting with the state’s increase in only four tests. This highlights our commitment to continuous improvement and aligning with educational standards to foster student success.

* 7th Grade STAAR for 2023 / 8th Grade STAAR for 2024 (Please read below.)

** 8th Grade STAAR for 2023 / Algebra 1 for 2024 (Please read below.)

At the start of the 2023 school year, our district implemented a strategy allowing 7th-grade students to learn the 8th-grade curriculum in preparation for the 8th-grade STAAR test. By the time these students reach 8th grade, they begin studying Algebra 1, aiming to equip them for advanced high school math courses and TSI testing at the start of freshman year.

Joel Gaines, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, highlighted that early exposure to Algebra facilitates enrollment in dual-credit and advanced math classes, projecting increased TSI math scores and enrollment rates in advanced courses. This initiative led our 7th graders to a significant 25% surge in our STAAR improvement rate compared to 2023, achieving a 50% passing rate.

In the recent assessments, our district has shown notable improvements across various subjects, including:

Algebra 1: Our district achieved a 68% passing rate, marking a substantial 17% improvement compared to 2023. In contrast, the state saw a modest 1% increase.

6th Grade Reading: We observed a 10% increase in scores, reaching a 68% passing rate. Meanwhile, the state’s scores remained unchanged.

An increase in 5 out of the 7 Spanish exams, including 4th and 5th Grade Reading, Math, and Science. Greta Adame, Director of the Bilingual Program, explains how high-quality professional development equips teachers for effective bilingual instruction, resulting in higher student academic achievement,

Furthermore, high school end-of-course exams demonstrated significant gains compared to previous years:

Algebra 1: Increased by 17%

Biology: Increased by 6%

English 1: Increased by 2%

English 2: Increased by 2%

US History: Increased by 3%

These results indicate a positive trajectory for our district’s educational outcomes, suggesting ongoing initiatives and support effectively enhance student performance across various grade levels and subjects.

To support both staff and students in improving STAAR testing outcomes, our district has implemented several initiatives:

Timeline of Initiatives:


Principals and Campus Instructional Leadership teams began professional learning sessions focused on understanding the new STAAR redesign and its associated requirements.


Campus and district leadership conducted quarterly curriculum audits and reviewed student data to enhance student learning outcomes. Additionally, a universal screener was introduced to assess student needs effectively.

A reading interventionist has been assigned to each elementary campus. These professionals monitor student progress and identify those facing academic challenges.

During summer break, our teachers revised lesson plans and utilized previous tests as material to implement new teaching methods that align with TEKS curriculum standards. This proactive approach ensured students were well-prepared for the new components of STAAR testing.


Teachers will receive standardized Tier 1 curriculum resources in English and Spanish, ensuring consistency and accessibility across all classrooms.

These efforts demonstrate our continued commitment to providing comprehensive support to educators and students, ensuring alignment with curriculum standards, and maximizing readiness for STAAR assessments across all grade levels and subjects. The district anticipates that these efforts will narrow the gap between district and state performance levels, ultimately enhancing overall student academic achievement across all subjects.

We look forward to the upcoming school year and continuing to prioritize our collective focus on student academic achievement. Together, SSAISD believes we will achieve great success with the support of our parents, staff, and community. Article written by Genesis Aguilar.