Updated Sept. 12, 3:33 p.m.

The Texas Education Agency announced it will delay the release of this year’s A-F ratings, which were scheduled to go out Sept. 28, by around a month to allow the agency to reconsider some of its proposed changes to the accountability system.

Posted Sept. 12, 9:20 a.m.

Liberty Hill ISD officials expressed frustration over changes to the state’s A-F accountability rating system and the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness at a Sept. 11 special meeting.

Despite student performance improving, Superintendent Steven Snell said district officials are unsure of what the rating will be under the new system.

"We still don't know what our ratings are, and what our performance is based on this crazy model," Snell said. "We can't even explain this to the public it's so complicated."

What’s happening?

On Sept. 28, the Texas Education Agency will release its A-F ratings for districts and their campuses based on a "refreshed" accountability system that has changed how scores are calculated.

“Your student performance may go up, and the rating may go down due to that change in the rules and the methodology,” said Dee Carney, a consultant with HillCo Partners who presented the changes to the board Sept. 11.

As TEA officials said this year’s ratings will not be comparable to last year's, the agency will also publish how a district would've performed in 2022 under the new standards. Almost 30% of campuses across the state would receive a lower rating based on last year's data, Carney said.

The background

The state’s accountability rating system gives school districts and campuses a score from A-F depending on student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps for certain student populations, such as racial and socioeconomic groups.

The ratings measure student achievement through STAAR scores; student preparedness for college, career and military service; and graduation rates.

Liberty Hill ISD received a B rating overall for the 2021-22 school year.

The details

The following are some of the most notable changes to how this year’s ratings will be calculated, Carney said.
  • A higher score is required to receive an A rating for college, career and military readiness as well as graduation rates.
  • A redesigned, online STAAR changed how students were tested.
  • Students must advance by an entire performance category on the STAAR to receive points for academic growth.
  • Adjustments were made to which student populations can contribute points.
  • A campus’s impact on a district’s overall rating is proportional to its size.
What they're saying

Several district officials expressed confusion and raised concerns over how the new accountability system and STAAR could impact the district’s rating.

“It's not good for kids. It's not good for schools. It's not good for public education,” Snell said “Liberty Hill’s one of the highest-performing school districts in the state. We're not afraid of any of this stuff. It just doesn't make sense.”

As the STAAR was administered online this year, some board members said they were worried requiring students to type their responses put younger students at a disadvantage.

"It's a test that doesn't test whether kids can read or not; some of those questions test whether a kid can type," Place 6 board member Kristi Hargrove said.

The impact

A change in rating for Liberty Hill ISD could have larger implications beyond the district, Carney said.

"If the school drops, that does impact the value of the homes, and it does impact what businesses look at and where they locate," she said.

Stay tuned

A-F ratings for the 2022-23 school year will be released Sept. 28 at www.txschools.gov.