Fort Worth-area schools will have to wait a few more weeks to see their grades from the state.
The Texas Education Agency announced Sept. 12 the delay of A-F ratings for school districts and charters. Schools will wait until sometime in October or November for the ratings from the newly-revised accountability system; they were originally planned for release Sept. 28.
TEA pushed back ratings to rework how the system measures students’ year-to-year academic growth, according to a news release. Post-pandemic growth has been lower than expected, so officials are setting a new baseline.
“The A-F system is designed to properly reflect how well our schools are meeting those high expectations, and the adjustments we are making this year will ensure it continues to serve as a tool for parents and educators to help our students,” Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said in a statement.
Lower ratings are widely expected after TEA revised the formulas and cutoffs for letter grades. For example, high schools need to have at least 88% of their graduates pass an Advanced Placement exam, earn an industry-based certification or take a dual credit course to receive an A in the college, career and military readiness score. Previously, it was 60%.
How are schools rated?
School districts, campuses and charter schools receive an A-F letter grade every year from the state of Texas. The grades are based on three general areas:
- Student achievement: The state examines the performance of schools and districts on the state standardized test. High schools are evaluated on how well they prepare students for college, a career and the military.
- School progress: The state looks at how much schools and districts grew academically year over year.
- Closing the gaps: The state inspects how districts and schools serve certain groups, such as bilingual students or special needs students.
State law requires TEA to update the accountability system periodically; the A-F ratings were introduced in 2017. This year marks the first time the system has been updated. The revision started in October 2021, and TEA published the new calculations in January 2023.
Some school districts raised red flags over the update. Crowley ISD in south Fort Worth is part of a lawsuit against TEA over the revised ratings.
Fort Worth ISD appreciated the delay, spokesperson Cesar Padilla said.
“This action acknowledges the importance of an accountability system that is both rigorous and responsive to real-world challenges our schools and students face,” he said in a statement. “This thoughtful consideration allows educators to maintain trust in the system and ensures families and the public receive transparent, comparable and meaningful information about our schools.”
Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Angélica Ramsey previously criticized the state for revising both the accountability system and the state standardized test in the same year. The Legislature passed a law in 2019 to redesign the exam, called the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.
Anthony Tosie, executive director of communications at Northwest ISD, said in an email that the district believes that significant changes to the STAAR test and accountability system should not take place during the same year.
A single-day assessment shouldn’t define the success of a student or school, he said.
Northwest ISD was one of the Fort Worth-area school districts with the best STAAR results this year.
“Such simultaneous changes call into question the validity of both systems,” Tosie said.
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