Brenham ISD’s performance in the spring 2024 STAAR and End-of-Course (EOC) exams falls mostly below state averages.

Brenham ISD Executive Director of
Leadership and Learning Sara
Borchgardt discusses student results in
the spring STAAR/EOC exams during
Monday's Brenham School Board

During the Brenham School Board’s meeting on Monday, Brenham ISD Executive Director of Leadership and Learning Sara Borchgardt walked through the percentages of elementary, middle school, junior high and high school students that “approached”, “met” or “mastered” their subjects. 

Out of a total of 60 performance categories measured, Brenham ISD matched or exceeded the state in 21 of them.  Meanwhile, when examining Brenham schools’ performance to that of what they scored a year ago, they improved in 28 out of 60 categories.

Borchgardt said there are signs of progress, and she believes the district’s instructional team has the ability to lead meaningful improvement.

When looking at Brenham ISD’s scores versus the state, elementary campuses met or surpassed the state standard in 5 of 12 categories, which cover reading and math for grades 3 and 4.  Brenham Middle School, measuring reading and math for grades 5 and 6 plus grade 5 science, was the same or better than the state in 3 of 15 metrics.  Brenham Junior High School, which graded reading and math for grades 7 and 8, along with grade 8 science and social studies, was equal to or greater than the state in 8 of 18 groups.  Brenham High School, which tested for English I and II, Algebra I, U.S. History and Biology, was identical or beat out the state in 5 of 15 categories. 

Comparing Brenham ISD’s performance this year to how it fared in 2023, scores held steady or grew in 7 out of the 12 metrics for elementary campuses, 4 out of the 15 for Brenham Middle School, 4 out of the 18 for Brenham Junior High School, and 13 out of the 15 for Brenham High School.

Trustees asked Borchgardt about reports that results are being negatively impacted by the state’s use of artificial intelligence to grade test submissions, giving zeroes in instances that would at least receive partial credit in a classroom setting.  Borchgardt discussed how testing situations will have students type in text-based responses after reading questions or passages on the test, and the state’s AI system will grade the submission based on how closely the student followed the rubric, if they remained on topic, and if they used appropriate evidence to support their claims.  She said the state claims it is grading some tests by hand, but she needed to find out more before speaking on that further.

Borchgardt said Brenham ISD has a wealth of resources to get where it needs to go, and that it is simply a matter of determining how to best leverage those resources and help teachers implement them effectively.  So far this summer, the district has been looking at research-based best practices for instruction, training teachers on what research says is important to include for students.  She said they have also been taking a “very fine look” at high-quality instructional materials, looking across grade levels to reduce variability and to have standard processes in place.

Borchgardt noted that this data is purely looking at performance and student achievement, as the district will not get numbers from the state pertaining to growth and closing the gaps until August.  District accountability ratings will also be released in August.

Board President Natalie Lange expressed confidence in Borchgardt, who was hired in January, saying she has a wealth of knowledge and experience in turning districts around. 

In related business, following the STAAR/EOC presentation, the board agreed to use instructional material allotment funds earmarked by the state to purchase NWEA MAP growth assessments for $56,100 and HMH Into Reading for $381,965.  HMH Into Reading was described by Borchgardt as a comprehensive literacy curriculum that fills a need for more “on-grade-level, complex text” for students in grades 3-8 to engage in reading and writing. 

What’s your Reaction?


  1. I am a public school teacher as well and we work very hard to prepare our students for success. We do not hold all the keys though. Parents and guardians must also ensure their student has enough rest at night and attends school daily.
    Keeping on top of their grades is also important, 70 is passing. Unfortunately, there are a lot of folks who believe that public school is bad, but I assure you that if you make contact with your child’s teacher and keep the lines of communication open you will find that is not the case.

  2. I feel for our school teachers. I worked as a teacher in the district many years administering state tests. We worked our buns off all year long to help our students. It is so disappointing when the scores come back. Don’t put all the blame on the teachers, please. They do the best they can with who and what they are given. Parents and the community need to help where they can and not complain so much. Just a suggestion. Why don’t the complainers come spend a few days each year substitute teaching and see what teachers have to deal with? You might have a better idea of teaching circumstances. Luckily, my students’’ scores were always very good each year but it was sooo hard getting there. Support your public school teachers! How many times have I hear parents and community members say, “there is no way I could be a school teacher!!!!” AMEN. Enough said.

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