Fulfilling a statutory requirement, the Texas Education Agency released to legislators this week, hypothetical letter grades for schools and districts across the state. Using a new letter grade rating system lawmakers approved during the 2015 84th Texas Legislative Session, the current state accountability system of “Met Standard” or “Needs Improvement” ratings moves into one that gives A-through-F letter grades to schools and districts. House Bill 2804 requires the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to give schools a preliminary snapshot of standings before the legislation goes into effect in 2018. Official campus and district grades will not be issued until Summer 2018.
“What TEA releases provides insight about the methodology of a futuristic system,” Tyler ISD Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford stated. “These marks do not reflect the incredible progress Tyler ISD campuses made over the course of last school year in current law, such as the increased number of state recognized academic distinctions and the significant reduction of low performing campuses.”
According to State Education Commissioner Mike Morath, models and rules for calculating grades in these four categories are not completely set and will likely change before next fall. He also warns parents and districts against using the preliminary grades to predict their overall letter grades for the following year.
“TEA was clear in cautioning this statutory requirement as developing and unfinished,” Superintendent Crawford said. “We’re not letting the success of students and solid work of teachers under the current system go unnoticed, much less be distracted by the experimental features of these new, unofficial targets. Right now, we’re focused on teaching this year’s students and continuing the gains we saw last year. Once the rules of this game are clear, we will work to win in that setting, just as we are in the current system.”