A-F Accountability Ratings

TEA to release preliminary A-F ratings on Friday, January 6.

Dear VISD Family,

On Friday, January 6, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) will release preliminary A-F ratings for districts and campuses across the state based on data from the 2015-2016 school year as required by House Bill 2804 passed by the Texas Legislature in 2015.  These ratings will be based primarily on our state standardized test scores.  The ratings being released Friday are preliminary and incomplete “what if” ratings with official ratings to be determined in the fall of 2018.

We encourage parents and community members to use caution when interpreting these preliminary A-F ratings for the following reasons:

-- Van ISD received the highest accountability rating (Met Standard) in addition to Academic Achievement designations in numerous areas on the current accountability system.  We are very proud of our students and teachers for their performance in those areas.

--  The A-F Rating system is a work in progress.  TEA will make several changes to the system before the first official ratings are released in the Fall of 2018.  For now, all ratings are preliminary and based on incomplete data from the 2015-2016 school year and exclude several components that will be included in 2018.  The legislature’s intent for the A-F rating system was to provide a performance grade that would be simple for parents, community members, and educators to understand; however, the calculations needed to determine each letter grade are extremely complicated and lack transparency.

--  The A-F system lacks the letter “E”, which exemplifies Explanation, Evidence, Equity, and Equality.  All districts are unique and are not created equal; therefore, a simple letter grade based on a complicated system is not transparent nor does it allow for differences in student populations.  It is very likely that grades in an A-F system will align with wealth or poverty likely resulting in a negative impact on children.  Additionally, students who excel in programs such as athletics, career and technology courses, and fine arts are not considered in this rating system.

--  TEA has limited the number of schools and districts that may be rated as A or B.  According to this system, the most common rating across the state is a C.  TEA considers a C to be a ‘good rating’ whereas most of us view a C as borderline failing.  TEA’s definition of these letter grades hold a different meaning than most of us would agree on.  The new rating system will reflect performance compared to all other schools rather than whether or not schools have met certain predetermined standards.

--  Ratings for Domains I, II, and III are based entirely on STAAR results.  Our students’ performance and abilities cannot be reduced to a single letter grade based on one test on one day and will not accurately reflect the vast educational experiences we offer our students.  Placing a label on a school will undoubtedly establish comparisons and assumptions that are not fair to our teachers or our students.

Van ISD does not embrace a rating or ranking system of our schools based on standardized tests administered on one specific date.  We, like many districts across the state, are in the process of preparing a resolution that will be sent to the Texas Education Agency and to our local representatives opposing this arbitrary accountability system.  Van ISD recognizes and appreciates our teachers who work tirelessly to prepare our students and to ensure that they receive the best possible education.  We will continue to focus on inspiring and preparing all students to be successful in a rapidly changing world.

 

Our schools are so much more than one test;

Our students are so much more than one score!