For students’ state and federal test performances, Austin often compares itself to seven other urban school districts: Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Ysleta. Austin students outperformed their counterparts in reading by 8 to 16 percentage points, in writing by 6 to 20 percentage points, and in Algebra I by 1 to 16 percentage points.
“It is more meaningful and accurate to compare our district with urban districts in other parts of the state that have similar demographics and face similar challenges,” Austin Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said in a statement, adding that such similarities include educating more students who are learning English or who live in poverty.
According to state figures, about 65 percent of Austin students are economically disadvantaged and about 29 percent are learning English. About 61 percent are African American or Hispanic.