Texas public schools to adopt new A-F ratings system

A new accountability system will rate Texas public schools using an A through F rating.

Officially, the system won’t go into effect until August 2018, but the state’s taking it for a test run on Friday.

Public schools in Texas will use the test run as a gauge on where they stand using last year’s STAAR test scores.

Right now, campuses and districts are given one of two ratings: “met standard” or “improvement required.”

In 2015, Texas lawmakers passed House Bill 2804, which calls for schools to be evaluated using letter grade A, B, C, D, F. The letter ratings will evaluate five categories the state is calling “domains” and one overall letter grade.

The Texas Education Agency created two videos to explain the new rating system.

The domain categories are student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps, post-secondary readiness and community and student engagement. To simplify the state’s terminology, KHOU 11 News put the domains in more understandable terms:

  • Domain 1: How well do students perform on standardized testing?
  • Domain 2: How are students performing on standardized testing over time?
  • Domain 3: How are students from low income families performing compared to other students?
  • Domain 4: How prepared are students for college and life after graduation? This category is based off attendance, courses, dropout rate and graduation rate.
  • Domain 5: Community and student engagement. This category is based off different factors each school and district independently choose.

Ultimately, lawmakers made the A through F ratings for parents to get a better idea of how their school is performing in multiple categories rather than “met standard” or “improvement required.”

Ratings released Friday will not include Domain 5 or an overall rating. Over the phone Thursday, a Texas Education Agency spokesperson said school districts should not assume an overall rating from the four domains released Friday.

As of Thursday, 152 Texas school districts have adopted resolutions opposing the A-F school rating system provided by the Texas Association of School Administrators.

Alvin ISD Superintendent, Dr. Buck Gilcrease, opposes the system. However, his district is not currently listed on TASA’s resolution opposition list.

In a statement, Dr. Gilcrease says, “one of our elementary schools received distinctions from the state for ‘Top 25 Percent: Closing Performance Gaps.’”

The school was commended by the state. However, Dr. Gilcrease believes the school will now receive a ‘C’ for the same category.

Dr. Gilcrease’s full statement:

“The A-F rating system was proclaimed as a way to provide parents and community members with a simple system that provides increased clarity regarding campus and student performance. Unfortunately, as the system has been designed, it does not provide clarity and is anything but simple.