In the A-F ratings released Wednesday by the Texas Education Agency, Friendswood ISD earned A’s in every category, despite being a district that could have waived this year’s rating because of Hurricane Harvey.
The district earned an A overall, with A’s in each of the three TEA-defined categories of “academic achievement,” “student progress,” and “closing the gaps.” How each grade is calculated is explained in an interactive report published at www.txschools.org.
In a letter to parents this week, district officials said they are proud for their students in receiving the recognition, but reiterated that they view student success beyond an A-F grade. They also criticized the formula for assigning grades.
“Even the manner in which this grade is calculated is very confusing,” Superintendent Thad Roher wrote in the email. “We want to be sure we are providing opportunities and skills in areas which a multiple choice test on one day cannot assess—problem-solving, authentic learning opportunities, project-based learning outcomes, collaboration, communication, character and many others.”
Friendswood ISD was one of more than 100 districts that was eligible for a special designation by the TEA for being affected by Hurricane Harvey. If it had received below an A rating, it would have instead been listed as “Not Rated” this year.
Standardized tests such as the STAAR, ACT and SAT are part of the student achievement grade calculation, but other metrics are included, such as military enlistment, earning an associate’s degree before graduating or completing a technical education sequence. STAAR results account for 40 percent of the overall student achievement rating.
The SAT and ACT scores are factored into a “college readiness” score, which is included in the same category, which also takes into account things like completing an industry training program or earning a professional certificate.
The other two categories—”student progress,” and “closing the gaps”—compare STAAR performance against past performance, other schools and within different races and classes as defined by TEA.