Klein ISD officials expressed continued concern over recent changes to the state’s A-F accountability system during the board’s Aug. 14 meeting, noting they still haven’t received clarification from the Texas Education Agency on how the new system will affect the district’s ratings.

Terms to know

According to the TEA, the A-F accountability system is a statewide rating system that allows the TEA to evaluate the academic performance of Texas public schools and assign a letter grade to districts and campuses. Ratings are calculated based on:The ratings examine student achievement, school progress, and whether districts and campuses are closing achievement gaps among various student groups.

The background

The changes to the accountability rating system are coming following the rollout of the redesigned STAAR last spring that TEA officials said was more closely aligned to classroom experiences.

At the board’s July 10 meeting, KISD Chief Academic Officer Anthony Indelicato said the district received a draft of the new accountability manual in May. However, he noted the TEA had not provided materials to help campus-level staff such as teachers understand the changes.

Indelicato said the TEA will be using the new accountability rating system to assign grades to districts and campuses for the 2022-23 school year, as well as the 2023-24 school year, which started Aug. 9.

Why it matters

At the board’s Aug. 14 meeting, Indelicato said the district received results from the first round of redesigned STAAR exams for students in grades 3-8 on Aug. 11. However, he noted it will be difficult to determine how the scores will affect the district’s rating without further clarification from the TEA.

“Unfortunately, we are still waiting on the final accountability manual for the 2022-23 school year, which I'll remind everyone concluded three months ago,” Indelicato said. “Students and teachers are being graded for the past school year by accountability rules not clearly previously determined and communicated to educators before the 2022-23 school year began.”

Further, Indelicato said officials have expressed concern over the new accountability system’s use of exam scores from the 2021-22 school year to help assign ratings.

“The TEA’s new rules require a 47% increase in the performance of students who graduated in the 2021-22 school year,” Indelicato said. “That's two graduating classes ago that impact this past year's high school campus ratings and the district rating.”

Under the new rules, Indelicato said it would be possible for campuses to improve exam results in the 2023-24 school year from the previous school year and still receive a lower rating.

“This creates the misperception that high-performing schools are declining and high-performing districts are drastically declining even if their performance actually improved,” he said.

Moving forward

Indelicato said the TEA is expected to release a finalized version of its new A-F accountability system in September. He noted the district will continue to focus on providing teachers with the support they need to achieve student growth.

“Regardless of the frustration these changes have caused, as well as confusion with the retroactive application of rules, we remain fully committed to ensuring the success of every student in Klein [ISD],” he said.