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Texas Education Agency Releases A New School Ranking System

Texas Education Agency Releases A New School Ranking System

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On Jan. 6, 2017, The Texas Education Agency released a new system for school rankings. In 2015, Texas Legislature passed a bill during the that would change the Texas school accountability system. The new system makes it easier to understand how schools measure by giving an A-F rating. The current school rating system is on a pass, fail system. Schools earn “met standard”, “met alternative standard”, or “improvement required” TEA officials said the Jan. 6 release of the ratings are not an official grade for the schools, but they are more of a test run of the new system required by lawmakers of the bill.

The new ranking system will evaluate schools not only based on their STAAR scores. It will also include how the poorest students are doing, attendance rates and if students are making progress from year to year. They will also measure post-secondary readiness. These measurements will encompass everything like enrollment in technology courses and AP and SAT scores. Post-secondary will not include the STAAR test. However, during the first test run, scores of community and student engagement will not be measured. Furthermore, because of limitations of data available, the report will also not include an overall rating of any campus or district.

The new ratings will encompass five different domains:
Student Achievement
Student Progress
Closing Performance Gaps
Post-secondary Readiness
Community and Student Engagement

DeEtta Culbertson, TEA spokesperson, said that under current ranking systems, a change in a school’s performance may not be enough to trigger a change in rating.

“With [the A-F] rating, you’ll be able to see the actual growth [and] how well districts have actually done,” Culbertson said. “It will give more transparency to the system as well as provide a better overview of how campuses and districts are doing.”

The new system will be used state-wide starting in August 2018. Until then, schools will continue to use the current system. During that time, the TEA will also be working on guidelines to improve the school’s grade if they get a C or lower. The overall goal is to make it easier for parents to understand how their child’s school is doing.

Critics say the new system relies too heavily on tests that are taken once a year. They would like lawmakers to develop a community-based accountability system. The goal would be to empower school districts to design their own system of assessment that meets state standards.

The full list of grades can be found here.