AURORA | Most sixth-grade students in Aurora Public Schools are not meeting grade-level expectations in math and English standardized tests, with Black and Hispanic students struggling the most.
The district set a goal for 30% of sixth grade students to meet expectations in English by the end of last school year. However, only 23% met those grade-level expectations.
In math, the district set a goal of 27%. Only 23% met the expectations.
“The unfortunate truth is that we did not meet that target,” APS Superintendent Michael Giles said during a board of education meeting Tuesday evening. He added that the expectations discussed at the meeting were created by the district’s previous superintendent, Rico Munn.
Overall in the state, 36% of sixth grade students met grade level expectations in English while 24% met expectations in math.
Data shows that all sixth students in each demographic showed academic growth in English during the 2022-23 school year, with the most growth seen in Asian students.
Here is how they tested in the English standardized tests at the beginning of the school year:
- 24% of Black students met grade level expectations
- 12% of Hispanic students met expectations
- 31% of white students met expectations
- 28% of Asian students met expectations.
Here is how they tested at the end of the school year:
- 30% of Black students met grade level expectations
- 20% of Hispanic students met expectations
- 49% of white students met expectations
- 38% of Asian students met expectations.
When looking at math, even fewer sixth grade students met grade level expectations at the beginning of last school year:
- 14% of Black students
- 9% of Hispanic students
- 26% of white students
- 31% of Asian students
When looking at the students’ academic growth in math:
- 26% of Black students met grade level expectations
- 22% of Hispanic students met expectations
- 44% of white students met expectations
- 44% of Asian students met expectations
Giles said in a previous board meeting that he has a plan to raise students’ standardized test scores and increase graduation rates, but he did not offer a timeline or goals.
In addition to the discussion and report on students’ test scores, the board of directors also discussed the district’s efforts to retain Black and Hispanic teachers, which have improved. However, a majority of district teachers are white.
A progress report shows a slight increase among teachers of color, with the largest increase seen in white teachers.
7% of the licensed educators working in the district this school year are Black. That’s an increase from 6% last school year. 10% of district educators are Hispanic, which increased from the 9% reported last school year, according to the report.
The number of Asian teachers also saw a 1% increase. This school year, they made up 4% of district educators. The percentage of Native American teachers remained stagnant at 3%.
This is compared to the 76% of district educators that are white. It increased from 72% reported last school year.
Next steps for the district include: launching mentoring programs, hosting retention focus groups, offering exit interviews, deeper analysis of the data, expanding the Human Capital Plan and strengthening the onboarding and orientation process.