What Texas Education Agency’s new A-F rating system will mean for your local school district

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The Texas Education Agency will release a provisional set of accountability ratings for school districts and campuses across the state by Jan. 6 based on the TEA’s new A-F rating system. The system change comes as a result of House Bill 2804 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature in 2015.

According to the TEA, the new rating system measures year-over-year district and student performance beyond State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness results. This system will officially be implemented in the 2017-18 academic year, reflecting district and student performance in the 2016-17 academic year.

The A-F ratings are a change from the “met standard,” “met alternative standard,” and “improvement required” ratings given to school districts and campuses in previous years.

“The current system is either you make standard or you need improvement. There’s no in-between,” TEA spokesperson DeEtta Culbertson said.

Culbertson said a district’s performance may fluctuate from year to year. However, under the current system, the change in performance may not be enough to trigger a change in rating, such as “improvement required.”

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

According to the TEA, districts and campuses will receive a rating of A, B, C, D or F in each of five domains and for overall performance.

“There’s five domains that look at student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps, postsecondary readiness, and community and student engagement,” Culbertson said.

According to a Dec. 1 release from the commissioner of education, indicators measuring performance include STAAR scores, graduation rate, dropout rate, postsecondary readiness, graduation plan rate, attendance, enrollment in a higher education preparation course, and community and student engagement.

The new rating system will be applied to each school district and campus based on 2015-16 data as a trial run. This data will be released to the public by Jan. 6. However, the first official ratings under the A-F system will not be released until August 2018.

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Anna Dembowski

Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in the Tomball and Magnolia communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.

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