A-F Campus & District Ratings
HB 22 Changes to A-F System
HB 22, passed by the 85th Texas Legislature in the final days of the 2017 session, makes changes to the A-F accountability system. The final version:
- does not delay A-F ratings for districts (first official ratings scheduled for August 2018)
- delays A-F for campuses until 2019
- requires an overall rating as well as a rating for each domain
- reduces the system from five to three domains: Student Achievement, School Progress, and Closing the Gaps
- differentiates between D (needs improvement) and F (unacceptable) ratings
- requires that the method used to evaluate performance for purposes of assigning school districts and campuses an overall and a domain performance rating allows for the mathematical possibility that all districts and campuses receive an A rating
- gives commissioner broad authority
- requires the commissioner to adopt rules for a local accountability system regarding the assignment of campus performance ratings by school districts and open-enrollment charter schools
TASA issued the following statement on the final version of HB 22 once it emerged from the conference committee in the final days of the session:
"TASA commends Chairmen Huberty and Taylor for their efforts to improve the A-F accountability system. There are several positive aspects to the final version of HB 22, including the delay of campus ratings to 2019, the differentiation of 'D' as 'needs improvement' and 'F' as 'unacceptable,' and the new local accountability system to replace the existing CASE self-evaluation. However, we are disappointed the Legislature did not delay the 2017-2018 district-level A-F ratings."HB 22 was signed by the governor on June 15 and takes effect immediately.Commissioner of Education Mike Morath addressed attendees of the UT/TASA Summer Conference on June 27, providing details on the updates to the A-F system that HB 22 requires. Download his slide presentation.
House Bill 2804, passed by the 84th Texas Legislature in 2015:
- requires the commissioner of education, beginning with the 2017-18 school year, to assign each district and campus an overall performance rating based on an A-F scale
- mandates that the commissioner also assign to each district and campus a separate letter grade for each of the five domains
- requires the letter rating to be assigned by August 15 of each year thereafter
- states that a letter rating of A, B, or C is considered acceptable, and a rating of D or F is considered unacceptable
- prevents districts from receiving an overall or domain rating of A if any campus in the district has received a corresponding domain or overall letter grade of D or F
- requires the commissioner of education, beginning with the 2017-18 school year, to assign each district and campus an overall performance rating based on an A-F scale
Texas Accountability Series
Knowing the concerns of TASA members about the state accountability system, state testing requirements, and the pending implementation of A-F ratings due to HB 2804, the TASA Executive Committee authorized the development of the “Texas Accountability Series,” a collection of essays to inform school leaders, policymakers, and the public about the potential impact and consequences of the A-F ratings on Texas public schools.We have found no research to support A-F school rating systems as effective. We believe that Texas students would be better served by a comprehensive community-based accountability system that looks beyond high-stakes, multiple-choice tests to meaningful assessments that have value for students, parents, and teachers, as well as measures what each community deems important in promoting college and career readiness. For more in-depth information, see the “Texas Accountability Series” of essays:
A-F Talking Points
TASA Talking Points on A-F School and District Rating Systems
TSPRA Talking Points on A-F
TASB Webinar on A-F Featuring Commissioner of Education
The Texas Association of School Boards held a webinar on February 8 in which Commissioner of Education Mike Morath spoke about the A-F school/district rating system. See the video of the webinar.
Amarillo ISD "More Than a Grade" Video Series
Amarillo ISD has produced a series of videos called "More Than a Grade" in response to the A-F school rating system. See the videos on the district's YouTube channel.
Clear Creek ISD: A-F vs. Community-Based Accountability
Clear Creek ISD Superintendent Greg Smith explains the state's new A-F school rating system and talks about the community-based accountability system that CCISD has implemented to report on the measures deemed most important by the local community.
Georgetown ISD Video on A-F Accountability System
Georgetown ISD Superintendent Fred Brent discusses the A-F school rating system and the vision of GISD.
Klein ISD Video on A-F
Hear from Klein ISD Superintendent Bret Champion on the difference between student and school letter grades.
Region 10 Superintendents Press Conference
On January 9, many Region 10 superintendents and other public education supporters came together for a press conference highlighting the legislative priorities that more than 60 districts in the region have adopted and that include repeal of the A-F school rating system. Watch a video of the press conference below:
by Craig Rothmeier, president, Make Education a Priority Year Published: March 2017
"If we ever wondered about the power of advocacy, legislation introduced by the chairmen of both the Senate and the House should reinforce the need to continue to push for sound legislative policy relating to public education. Last week, Senate Education Committee chairman Larry Taylor and House Public Education Committee chairman Dan Huberty introduced bills targeting the A-F grading system scheduled to be put in place in the 2018-2019 school year. And while it is obviously too early to know what impact either will have, the fact that this topic is on the table speaks volumes for advocacy efforts." Read the full editorial.
by Aliyya Swaby, The Texas Tribune Year Published: March 2017
"House Public Education Committee Chairman Dan Huberty and Senate Education Committee Chairman Larry Taylor filed bills to help make the A-F accountability system more palatable to educators, who say grading their schools won't help them serve students better." Read the article.
by Moak, Casey and Associates Year Published: January 2017
"Accountability systems are only useful if their measures are accurate, credible, clear, and useful. Despite good intentions, and a fundamental structure in HB 2804 that is capable of generating a more nuanced understanding of public school performance, the features of TEA's provisional A-F grading system produced ratings that are neither clear nor comparable. The letter grades’ lack of clarity and meaning risks leading the public to make unjustified and, in some cases, harmful inferences about differences in the quality of public schools. The 85th legislative session provides Texans with one last opportunity to try and answer the many questions about using A-F letter grades in the accountability system before they become permanent in spring 2018." Read the full article.
by By Julie Chang , Melissa B. Taboada, and Dan Hill, Austin American-Statesman Year Published: January 2017
"Growing research shows parent income is one of the strongest predictors of good scores on standardized tests. Those scores largely determine a school’s A-F grade. The wealthier the student, the less likely their education will be interrupted by the lack of social needs like health care, nutritious foods, transportation and housing." Read the full article.
by Dallas Morning News Year Published: January 2017
"Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-Clint, filed a bill that would do away with the controversial new grades. She said an A-F system would disproportionately punish schools in the poorest communities that are already struggling to overcome many obstacles. ... Texans are likely to see more legislation attacking the new system after the session kicks off this month, as educators and public school advocates say this first look shows just how broken the new system will be. The A-F legislation narrowly passed in 2015." Read the full article.
by WFAA Staff, WFAA Year Published: January 2017
"Four hundred sixty-one school districts (as of January) in Texas oppose an A-F rating system for the state's public schools, according to the Texas Association of School Administrators. All 461 districts have approved resolutions calling for the Texas Legislature to repeal the system passed in 2015, set to be put in place for the 2017-18 school year." Read the full article.
by Houston Chronicle Year Published: January 2017
"Worse than a meaningless gimmick that promises more than it delivers, the new system could actually serve to stigmatize public schools and further dispirit teachers and principals who already have their hands full. Lawmakers should scuttle this new law before it does harm." Read the full editorial.
by Jodi Duron, superintendent, Elgin ISD Year Published: December 2016
"Letter grades based largely on standardized test scores hold schools and districts accountable for many factors they do not control, such as social and economic barriers. As research has shown time and time again, poverty is highly correlated with low academic achievement. That doesn’t mean students of poverty are not able to learn; rather, they have greater challenges and obstacles to overcome in order to learn. ... The fact is an A-F grading system cannot account for the many challenges that districts, like Elgin ISD, serving high numbers of students living in poverty face. Yes, poverty matters." Read the full article.
by Athens Daily Review Year Published: December 2016"Do you know that special education students and gifted-and-talented students take the same test with the same passing standard? Is this fair to students? Nevertheless, the state continues to rate diverse Texas districts and diverse Texas students as if they were all exactly the same. Comparing districts without understanding the challenges and barriers each independent district must overcome is simply not fair. It is just another attempt to mislabel public education as a failure and mislead the public with false data." Read the article. by Dr. John Thompson, historian and retired teacher Year Published: October 2016“Oklahoma should avoid the mistakes of 15 years ago and refrain from bestowing respectability on those ridiculous grade cards, the latest of which were released Thursday by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Some pieces of the Oklahoma A-F Report Card data will prove beneficial, but the idea that a single grade can be generated by those numbers is nutty. We all knew that the low-poverty magnet and charter schools would earn high A's and that high-poverty schools will mostly get F’s.” Read the full editorial. by The Huntsville Item Year Published: October 2016“The agreement among researchers, experts, teachers and so on is that A-F systems do not work. I have found reams of research that suggests that they do not work,” testing expert John Tanner said. “What happens over and over again with labeling systems is that the ‘D’ school has to make decisions as if the whole school was a ‘D’ school, as if all of the students are ‘D’ students. That damages the students, and in addition, these schools are supposed to change everything, so ‘D’ schools have a tendency to go into fight or flight mode and that is very dangerous.” Read the article. by James M. Largent, Ed.D., superintendent, Granbury ISD Year Published: October 2016“Under our current accountability system, the bulk of our grade of A-F will depend on a once-a-year, multiple choice, bubble test that our students have to sit quietly and take for up to 3-4 hours at a time. This test has been proven to be defective, not statistically significant or reliable, and graded by minimum-wage employees hired off the Internet. The company making millions off this test cannot even guarantee their system will work when our students take the test online and also has a history of losing tests, sending them to the wrong schools, and grading them improperly. Is this really what our campuses should be graded on?” Read the full article. by Johnny L. Veselka, TASA Executive Director Year Published: September 15, 2016
“An A-F system fails to account for the presence of socioeconomic conditions that in turn influence performance. Wealthy schools are not automatically good schools, and poor schools are not automatically bad schools, and yet A-F grading systems tend to reward schools accordingly. Rather than help each improve according to its needs, the system tends to punish poor schools for being poor while telling rich schools they are doing fine.” Read the full article.
by Hannah Sparling, Cincinnati Enquirer Year Published: September 2016“It’s not about being afraid of accountability. We want to be held accountable by our community,” said Mason City Schools (Cincinnati, Ohio) spokeswoman Tracey Carson. But “with all the different calculations that there are (to get the overall grades), we’re not even sure that they’re accurate.” Read the full article. by Bobby J. Rigues, Aledo ISD School Board Trustee Year Published: June 12, 2016“Labeling a campus with a letter grade creates a false impression about an entire neighborhood of children. A campus labeled with the letter “A” promotes the idea that an overwhelming majority of students make A’s and the campus is anointed with a gold seal of approval by the State of Texas.On the other hand, a campus labeled with an “F” will be viewed as inferior with failing students, teachers and administrators – punitive in nature.” Read the full article. by State Rep. Diego Bernal Year Published: August 18, 2016"This [A-F] district and campus rating system can ultimately shame students, branding them individually with their school’s score. Students might not be aware of the precise meaning of an 'improvement required' campus, but every student knows what an 'F' means. The inequality of the current school finance system all but ensures that a campus’ letter grade will align with the wealth or poverty of the surrounding area, but the students will carry the weight of that grade in a more personal, internal way." Read the full report.
Related TASA Capitol Watch Alerts
House Gives Preliminary OK to Huberty’s HB 22, Which Delays A-F
05.03.2017 — Chairman Dan Huberty’s HB 22 passed the House on second reading Wednesday, May 3. The bill, which the House will consider on third reading on Thursday, would delay implementation of the A-F system to August 2019.ACTION ALERT: House to Hear Huberty’s HB 22 on A-F Accountability System
05.02.2017 — On Wednesday, May 3, the full House is expected to debate HB 22, the bill by Chairman Dan Huberty that makes changes to the A-F public school accountability system.A-F, ASATR, and Bullying Bills Among 15 Voted Out of House Public Education Committee
04.28.2017 — The House Public Education Committee met Thursday, April 27, hearing testimony on a number of bills. The committee also voted out 15 bills, which will now go to the full House.Senate Committee on Education Hears Taylor’s A-F Bill, Others and Votes Out 17 Bills
04.27.2017 — The Senate Committee on Education met Thursday, April 27, on a mix of bills, including SB 2051, Chairman Larry Taylor’s bill to amend the A-F school accountability system. They also voted out 17 bills.Thursday, April 27: Senate Committee on Education to Hear Taylor’s A-F Bill, Others
04.25.2017 — The Senate Committee on Education will meet at 9 a.m., Thursday, April 27, on a number of bills, including Chairman Larry Taylor’s bill to amend the A-F school accountability system.House Public Education Committee Hears Special Ed/Student Health and Safety Bills (Plus HB 22 on A-F)
04.04.2017 — On Tuesday, April 4, the House Public Education Committee heard testimony on the following bills related to special education and student and health and safety, and passed out a handful of bills, including HB 22 on the A-F accountability system.House Public Education Committee Considers School Finance, Assessment/Accountability Bills
03.22.2017 — Before hearing testimony on more than 20 bills related to assessment and accountability on Tuesday, the House Public Education Committee discussed HB 21, Huberty’s school finance bill.
House Public Education Committee to Consider Assessment/Accountability Bills Tuesday
03.17.2017 — The House Public Education Committee will meet at noon, or upon final adjournment of the House, Tuesday, March 21, to hear HB 22 and 20-plus other assessment and accountability bills.Huberty Files HB 22 on Public School Accountability
03.09.2017 — On Thursday afternoon, Texas House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty filed HB 22 relating to the public school accountability system.
House Public Education Committee Adds Senate’s Campus A-F Ratings to HB 2804
04.29.2015 — The House Public Education Committee heard testimony Tuesday on SB 6, the campus A-F ratings bill. Rather than passing it on its own, the committee added its provisions to Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock’s bill, HB 2804, which also alters the state public school accountability system. (Reps. Alma Allen, Marsha Farney, Mary Gonzalez, and Gary VanDeaver voted against adding the A-F rating provisions.)
House Public Education Committee to Hear Senate’s Campus A-F Rating Bill, Others on April 28
04.24.2015 — The House Public Education Committee will meet at 8 a.m., Tuesday, April 28, to hear testimony on the a number of new bills as well as the Senate's campus A-F rating bill.
Senate Passes Campus A-F Ratings Bill, Sends to House
03.30.15 — After much discussion, the Senate passed SB 6 today with a vote of 20 to 10. The bill would require Texas campuses to receive A-F performance ratings rather than ratings of exemplary, recognized, acceptable, or unacceptable.
Senate Education Committee Passes Out Campus A-F Rating, Dual-Credit, Vapor and Defibrillator Bills
03.18.2015 — The Senate suspended the rules yesterday to allow the Senate Education Committee to call a previously unannounced meeting immediately following the adjournment of the full Senate. During the meeting, the committee passed out four bills previously considered by the committee.
TASA Testifies Against Campus A-F Ratings Bill
03.12.2015 — During the March 12 Senate Education Committee meeting, TASA expressed opposition to SB 6, a bill that would require Texas campuses to receive A-F performance ratings.
Senate Education Committee to Consider Bills on A-F Ratings, Dual Credit, Virtual Courses and More
03.09.2015 — The Senate Education Committee will meet at 9 a.m., Thursday, March 12, to consider six bills as introduced.
Criticism Mounts From States That Have Adopted A–F Accountability Grading System
03.04.2013 — In light of the recent push by Texas legislators, business leaders and the governor to move the Texas accountability rating system to an A–F grading scale, we have compiled several news articles and a research report from the Oklahoma Center for Education Policy on the A-F grading system.
Advocate for the establishment of a comprehensive accountability system that looks beyond high-stakes, multiple-choice exams to meaningful assessments that have value for students, parents, and teachers, as well as measures what each community deems important in promoting college and career readiness. Oppose A–F campus and district ratings.
Districts & Organizations That Have Passed A-F Resolutions
The Resolution Concerning the A-F Accountability Rating System for Texas Public Schools (download the Word doc) calls on the Texas Legislature to repeal the A-F letter-grade school/district rating system to be implemented in 2017-18 and to develop a community-based accountability system. TASA would like to know if your district has passed the resolution, so please email confirmation of your board’s action to Amy Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org. As of April 24, TASA had confirmations that the following 566 school districts representing 2.87 million students (and seven organizations: the Bryan City Council, Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce, Liberty Hill PTO, Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce, Matagorda Area Chamber of Commerce, TEPSA, and TCASE) had adopted resolutions opposing the A-F school rating system. District Region Students Abilene ISD 14 15,481 Alamo Heights ISD 20 4,824 Albany ISD 14 485 Aldine ISD 4 64,175 Aledo ISD 11 5,021 Alice ISD 2 4,684 Alief ISD 4 44,026 Alpine ISD 18 1,000 Alto ISD 7 599 Alvarado ISD 11 3,385 Alvin ISD 4 20,817 Alvord ISD 11 677 Amarillo ISD 16 30,353 Anahuac ISD 4 1,212 Angleton ISD 4 6,366 Anna ISD 10 2,918 Anson ISD 14 652 Anton ISD 17 225 Aquilla ISD 12 245 Aransas County ISD 2 3,161 Archer City ISD 9 424 Argyle ISD 11 2,137 Arlington ISD 11 58,226 Arp ISD 7 777 Aspermont ISD 14 225 Athens ISD 10 2,963 Aubrey ISD 11 2,211 Austin ISD 13 75,454 Avalon ISD 10 336 Avery ISD 8 332 Azle ISD 11 5,856 Baird ISD 14 302 Balmorhea ISD 18 148 Bangs ISD 15 939 Banquete ISD 2 869 Bartlett ISD 13 340 Bastrop ISD 13 9,529 Beaumont ISD 5 17,393 Beckville ISD 7 642 Bellevue ISD 9 146 Bells ISD 10 736 Belton ISD 12 10,158 Benavides ISD 2 330 Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco ISD 2 522 Benjamin ISD 9 83 Big Sandy ISD 7 648 Big Spring ISD 18 3,805 Birdville ISD 11 22,667 Bland ISD 10 577 Blanket ISD 15 189 Blooming Grove ISD 12 798 Bloomington ISD 3 832 Blue Ridge ISD 10 659 Bluff Dale ISD 11 96 Blum iSD 12 340 Boerne ISD 20 7,592 Boles ISD 10 474 Boling ISD 3 1,065 Bonham ISD 10 1,698 Borger ISD 16 2,470 Bosqueville ISD 12 606 Bovina ISD 16 443 Bowie ISD 9 1,572 Boyd ISD 11 1,095 Brazos ISD 6 764 Brazosport ISD 4 11,400 Brenham ISD 6 4,594 Bridge City ISD 5 2,694 Bridgeport ISD 11 1,974 Brock ISD 11 1,237 Brookeland ISD 5 375 Brownfield ISD 17 1,690 Brownsboro ISD 7 2,562 Bruceville-Eddy ISD 12 719 Bryan ISD 6 15,105 Bryson ISD 9 243 Bullard ISD 7 2,338 Buna ISD 5 1,361 Burkburnett ISD 9 3,010 Burleson ISD 11 10,809 Burnet CISD 13 2,899 Burton ISD 6 386 Caddo Mills ISD 10 1,602 Caldwell ISD 6 1,676 Campbell ISD 10 328 Canton ISD 10 2,009 Canutillo ISD 19 5,555 Carlisle ISD 7 588 Carrizo Springs CISD 20 2,132 Carroll ISD 11 7,691 Carrollton-Farmers Branch 10 24,067 Carthage ISD 7 2,506 Castleberry ISD 11 3,756 Cedar Hill ISD 10 7,574 Celeste ISD 10 461 Celina ISD 10 2,239 Center ISD 7 2,541 Centerville ISD 6 632 Central ISD 7 1,486 Central Heights ISD 7 1,086 Channelview ISD 4 9,569 Channing ISD 16 154 Chapel Hill ISD 7 3,398 Chapel Hill ISD 8 1,025 Chico ISD 11 551 Childress ISD 16 1,078 Chillicothe ISD 9 184 Chilton ISD 12 494 China Spring ISD 12 2,493 Chireno ISD 7 356 Clarksville ISD 8 477 Clear Creek ISD 4 38,671 Cleburne ISD 11 6,209 Cleveland ISD 4 3,847 Clyde ISD 14 1,389 Coahoma ISD 18 850 College Station ISD 6 12,209 Colorado ISD 14 902 Collinsville ISD 10 504 Colmesneil ISD 5 386 Columbia-Brazoria ISD 4 2,869 Columbus ISD 3 1,489 Commerce ISD 10 1,500 Como-Pickton CISD 8 701 Comstock ISD 15 179 Coolidge ISD 12 317 Cooper ISD 8 750 Coppell ISD 10 11,470 Copperas Cove ISD 12 7,303 Corpus Christi ISD 2 35,709 Corsicana ISD 12 5,557 Cotulla ISD 20 1,238 Covington ISD 12 295 Crandall ISD 10 3,290 Crockett ISD 6 1,184 Crockett County CCSD 15 746 Crosby ISD 4 5,333 Crowell ISD 9 181 Crowley ISD 11 14,022 Crystal City ISD 20 1,808 D'Hanis ISD 20 336 Daingerfield-Lone Star ISD 8 968 Dalhart ISD 16 1,620 Dallas ISD 10 145,694 Damon ISD 4 164 Danbury ISD 4 733 Darrouzett ISD 16 125 Dayton ISD 4 4,891 Deer Park ISD 4 12,470 DeKalb ISD 8 741 DeLeon ISD 14 632 Denison ISD 10 4,252 Denton ISD 11 25,748 Denver City ISD 17 1,633 DeSoto ISD 10 9,116 Devine ISD 20 1,856 Dew ISD 12 147 Deweyville ISD 5 582 Dickinson ISD 4 10,111 Dime Box ISD 13 174 Dimmit ISD 16 1,091 Dodd City ISD 10 361 Dripping Springs ISD 13 5,251 Driscoll ISD 2 250 Dumas ISD 16 4,207 Duncanville ISD 10 11,982 Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD 11 18,078 Early ISD 15 1,142 East Bernard ISD 3 953 East Central ISD 20 9,384 East Chambers ISD 5 1,352 Ector ISD 10 236 Ector County ISD 18 29,035 Eden CISD 15 234 El Campo ISD 3 3,333 El Paso ISD 19 55,439 Elgin ISD 13 3,968 Ennis ISD 10 5,363 Era ISD 11 463 Etoile ISD 7 121 Eula ISD 14 375 Eustace ISD 7 1,467 Evadale ISD 5 438 Evant ISD 12 219 Everman ISD 11 5,229 Fabens ISD 19 2,314 Fairfield ISD 12 1,860 Farmersville ISD 10 1,494 Farwell ISD 16 513 Fayetteville ISD 13 218 Ferris ISD 10 2,320 Flatonia ISD 13 552 Florence ISD 13 938 Floresville ISD 20 3,715 Floydada ISD 17 731 Forney ISD 10 8,965 Forsan ISD 18 703 Fort Bend ISD 4 70,070 Fort Davis ISD 18 209 Fort Sam Houston ISD 20 1,432 Fort Stockton ISD 18 2,261 Fort Worth ISD 11 79,375 Friendswood ISD 4 5,877 Friona ISD 16 1,052 Frisco ISD 10 51,434 Gainesville ISD 11 2,681 Galena Park ISD 4 21,016 Galveston ISD 4 6,257 Garner ISD 11 175 Gatesville ISD 12 2,679 Gause ISD 6 159 Georgetown ISD 13 10,410 Giddings ISD 13 1,806 Gilmer ISD 7 2,415 Godley ISD 11 1,673 Goldthwaite CISD 12 565 Goliad ISD 3 1,264 Gorman ISD 14 297 Grady ISD 18 206 Granbury ISD 11 6,502 Grand Prairie ISD 10 27,097 Grape Creek ISD 15 1,052 Grapeland ISD 6 443 Grapevine-Colleyville ISD 11 13,215 Greenwood ISD 18 2,205 Gregory-Portland ISD 2 4,336 Groesbeck ISD 12 1,673 Groom ISD 16 137 Groveton ISD 6 696 Gunter ISD 10 759 Gustine ISD 14 171 Hallettsville ISD 3 1,021 Hallsburg ISD 12 161 Hamilton ISD 12 724 Hamlin ISD 14 384 Happy ISD 16 243 Hardin-Jefferson ISD 5 2,102 Harleton ISD 7 741 Harlingen CISD 1 17,432 Harmony ISD 7 1,022 Harrold ISD 9 96 Hartley ISD 16 198 Harts Bluff ISD 8 536CLOSE