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Nearly 93% of Texas Districts Earn the "Met Standard" Accountability Rating

The Texas Education Agency announced Thursday that 92.5 percent or 1,136 Texas school districts and charter schools achieved the “met standard” rating under the state’s new accountability system. State ratings have been on hold since 2011 while the agency revamped the accountability system to align with the new STAAR tests. 

In 2011, 6.2 percent of campuses and charter schools statewide were rated academically unacceptable. This year, 9.1 percent or 778 regular schools and charters failed to meet state standards. 

“We have designed an accountability system that we think provides more balance and gives them more credit for the things that they do well, but obviously recognizes the things where there needs to be improvement,” Commissioner of Education Michael Williams said. 

In the new accountability system, schools and districts receive one of three ratings:  “met standard,” “met alternative standard,” or “improvement required.” To meet the state standards, schools and districts must reach the performance targets for each of the four indexes that include: 

 

  • Index 1: Student Achievement—Based on the percentage of test scores at or above the satisfactory level. (All students)
  • Index 2: Student Progress—A weighted composite based on the percentage of test scores that met or exceeded progress measures on reading, writing and math. Growth is evaluated by subject and by student group. 
(All students; student groups by race/ethnicity; English language learners; special education)
  • Index 3: Closing Performance Gaps—Based on improving academic achievement of economically disadvantaged students and the two lowest performing ethnic groups at each campus or district. (All economically disadvantaged students; student groups by race/ethnicity)
  • Index 4: Postsecondary Readiness—Based on high school completion rates and the percentage of students graduating on the Recommended or Distinguished plans. This measure only applies to districts and high school campuses. 
(All students; student groups by race/ethnicity; English language learners; special education) 

 

Schools and districts that do not serve students in grades 9-12 are evaluated only on the first three indexes (excludes Postsecondary Readiness).

Campuses that achieve the “met standard” rating are eligible for distinction designations in the following areas: Top 25 Percent Student Progress; Academic Achievement in Reading/English language arts; and Academic Achievement in Mathematics.

“Under the new accountability system, these designations recognize outstanding work at the campus level that would not be acknowledged in previous years,” said Commissioner Williams.

Approximately 3,600 campuses that achieved the met standard rating earned at least one distinction. More than 750 campuses earned distinctions in all three performance areas.

“Despite the many positive numbers, I am confident school leaders across our state share my concern for the number of campuses where improvement is still required, especially at the elementary level,” Williams said.  “If we can target our efforts in those grade levels today, the state will see improvements for all students in the years ahead,” he said.

Although the new accountability system is still largely based on standardized test scores and graduation rates, Commissioner Williams noted that over time it will evolve to include additional elements, like the number of students completing career certifications, to produce a more balanced and comprehensive system.
 
Williams said that while the four components of the new accountability system are in place, future adjustments will be made based on district and stakeholder feedback.
 
When it was suggested that the new system may be more difficult for parents to understand, Williams disagreed, noting that the system is not more complicated, it’s just more complex. 
 
"The underpinnings? I don't know if parents care," Williams said. "They want to know, what's the bottom line, what's the bottom line for the school that my youngster goes to?"

Campus and district accountability ratings are posted on the agency’s website at http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/account/2013/index.html