A – F Campus Report Card Coming to Texas

Nov 26, 2016 by

report card

“A – F Campus Report Card Coming to Texas”

By Donna Garner

11.26.16

 

INFORMATION ON THE A – F CAMPUS REPORT CARD – NEW ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM COMING FOR TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN AUGUST 2018

 

[COMMENTS FROM DONNA GARNER – Let me first say that the thing that school administrators fear more than anything else is accountability. It scares them to death because they are afraid local parents and taxpayers will find out what is actually happening in their public schools. If the accountability system is fair, if it is easy to understand, if it is based upon mostly objective data, then why should there be any fear?  

 

This is the main reason why I have stood stridently all of these years for Type #1 curriculum standards which lead to Type #1 STAAR/End-of-Course tests that are mostly objectively scored based upon right-or-wrong answers rather than upon some unknown graders’ value system. Such tests built upon Type # 1 standards (TEKS) provide a “measuring stick” for students, parents, and educators.

 

11.4.13 — Type #1 vs. Type #2 Chart — http://www.educationviews.org/comparison-types-education-type-1-traditional-vs-type-2-cscope-common-core/

 

Classrooms and schools built around subjective measurements, group projects, collaboration, and group-think rob students of the importance of individual learning and individual accountability. They do not feel the need to work hard to learn something which makes them self-reliant. 

 

Subjective curriculum that emphasizes students’ feelings, emotions, and personal opinions strips students from learning the all-important fact-based knowledge and skills that form a strong foundation upon which students are equipped to think logically and be able to analyze issues for themselves.  Students need to realize that the right answer is important – not just the process.

 

The Type #1 parameters are (1) knowledge/fact-based, (2) grade-level-specific or course specific, (3) clearly stated, (4) academic, (5) increase in depth and complexity from one grade level to the next, and (6) can be tested with largely right-or-wrong answers.  

 

The present accountability system is so vastly complicated that it ends up confusing parents and the public.  I believe the new A – F accountability system will be much easier for the public to understand, and it seems to me that the five domains (categories) allow for sufficient flexibility for the diverse school districts across Texas. 

 

Bottom line: From people’s school days, everyone understands what A – F means. It is common vocabulary and is free from the “educationeze” that baffles and confuses the public. If there has to be a state accountability system, then A – F seems to me to be a good one. – Donna Garner]

  

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11.16.16 –  Texas State Board of Education — Committee of the Full Board

 

Testimony by Texas Commissioner of Education, Mike Morath – Update on A-F Accountability System (Report Card Model) – Part 1 – marker 0:01:02 through 0:02:04: 

 

LINK TO ARCHIVED VIDEO – http://www.adminmonitor.com/tx/tea/committee_of_the_full_board/20161116/

 

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11.21.16 – Dallas Morning News –

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/2016/11/21/f-campus-report-card-superintendents-tizzy

 

 

“Why Does the A-F Campus Report Card Have Superintendents in Such a Tizzy? – by Dallas Morning News Editorial

 

Excerpts from this article:

 

 

The state’s A-through-F campus report card, designed to grade every Texas school’s performance, hasn’t even been put on the road for a test drive. In fact, it’s still under development.

But that’s not stopping critics, primarily superintendents, from doing their best to send the grading model careening into the ditch.

What are district leaders and their supporters so afraid of?

This new attempt to provide clarity in measuring and reporting individual school performance won approval from the Texas Legislature in 2015. Under HB 2804, lawmakers granted the Texas Education Agency plenty of time to fine-tune A-F and carefully communicate how it will work. Official ratings don’t take effect until August 2018.

Unfortunately, a contingent in Austin managed to insert a poison pill of sorts into the legislation, requiring TEA to provide a tentative mockup in January of what a campus-by-campus report card might look like. It’s not much of an assumption to see this as an effort to kill A-F before it ever gets a fair chance.

Education Commissioner Mike Morath and TEA are undeterred in their efforts to craft an understandable and useful grading system. But at the local level, too many superintendents are simply in a tizzy, already convinced that the new system will be unfair.

Actually, that doesn’t seem to be true, based on everything we’ve learned so far. As the accompanying box shows, the law assures that A-F not function as a blunt instrument.

For example, the five categories making up each campus grade take into account not just how many students pass STAAR but drill into year-to-year growth and other nuanced measures. Progress toward achievement — as well as actual achievement — will be baked into the A-F calculation.

And don’t forget that part of the strategy behind the A-F system is to provide an apples-to-apples comparison with campuses in other districts.

Too many lawmakers in Texas side with superintendents; after all, those are the voices they most often hear from. How about if the Legislature lets parents and other stakeholders kick the tires on this new grading model before prematurely taking it off the road?

Primer on A-F campus grading

House Bill 2804 mandated that the Texas Education Agency create a grading model that breaks down like this:

— Three STAAR-based categories: How many students passed, year-to-year student growth and the closing of performance gaps. Results count toward 55 percent of overall grade.

— Post-secondary readiness: This category includes graduation and dropout rates and attendance. 35 percent of overall grade.

— Local districts’ self-grading: Indicators, such as survey results, chosen by each district. 10 percent of overall grade.

While the A-F system doesn’t official launch until August 2018, HB 2804 requires TEA to present a trial mockup in January. Here’s what to expect:

— Campuses will receive category-by-category scores, as available; whether to also provide a single overall grade remains under discussion.

TEA has already run more than 30 test models in its attempts to find the fairest test case.

— Under consideration, within the STAAR-related categories, is to give each campus credit for which of the three it performed best on and throw out the two lower grades.

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1.22.16 — Accountability System Development for 2017–18 and Beyond Accountability Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) Implementation of House Bill 2804

 

file:///C:/Users/DGarner/Downloads/APAC%20Implementation%20of%20HB%202804_January%2022.pdf

 

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Present Texas Accountability Rating System – terribly confusing — https://rptsvr1.tea.texas.gov/perfreport/account/

 

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11.23.16 – The Kaufman Herald

 

“Open letter to communities: An unfair game”

 

By Lori Blaylock, Kaufman ISD Superintendent

 

http://www.kaufmanherald.com/opinion/article_1d5b6ada-b0c7-11e6-97f0-07d30ff08676.html

 

Excerpts from this article:

 

In 2015, the 84th Legislature enacted HB 2804 which in turn established an A-F rating system for public school districts and campuses to be implemented Sept. 1, 2017 (TEC §39.054). It is important to realize that the rules of the game were not established before spring 2016 testing and that the Texas Education Agency has released A-F ratings eight months before the program rating system was legally scheduled to begin.  

 

As school leaders, we oppose the A-F rating system for the following reasons.

 

The A-F rating system is unfair to the students that we serve.

Most school districts in our area serve a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students. These students encounter educational obstacles on a daily basis, including lack of food and other basic needs that make it difficult for parents and students to prioritize education. Quantities of research and even common sense tell us that educating children of poverty and students with English language barriers is more difficult and more time consuming than educating affluent students. Poverty and English language competency are such dependable predictors of student failure that we can state assuredly, before the A-F system is implemented, that the more affluent districts will receive the highest ratings in this A-F system.*

 

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. 

 

The A-F rating system is unfair to teachers.

This system vilifies and marginalizes the tireless efforts of skilled and caring teachers, leading to poor morale and the eventual loss of our greatest teachers to districts that receive high ratings so that they can eceive the respect and work environment that they are due. Is school success sustainable when it loses its best and brightest employees?  

 

 

The A-F rating system is unfair to communities.  

The final injustice of this rating system will be borne by our communities. Affluent districts that receive As based on their economic status will continue to draw business and families that want their children to attend an “A” district.  

 

Districts with higher levels of poverty and changing demographics will be passed over, thus creating yet another unfair system designed to leave impoverished children with poorer schools and communities. Is this not just another example of discrimination against the poor and people of color?  

 

The A-F rating system is based on an unfair test.

Two years ago, House Bill 743 required the Texas Education Agency to conduct a reliability and validity study of the STAAR exam used in the A-F rating system before the next test administration. Not only did TEA fail to comply, a summary of the analysis concluded that the test was reliable and valid but not aligned with the state curriculum. In other words, the test questions did not measure what the students were taught that year!** Nevertheless, the state will use this questionable test as the primary way to identify and label school districts.

The greatest irony of the entire A-F rating system is that it has been generated by a state government that scores an “F” on every national report card with regard to school finance.***

 

 

It is time for schools and the communities that they represent to cry “Foul.”  It is time for the state of Texas to realize that a sense of fairness is the basis of human cooperation, and unfairness, or discrimination, is the basis of most human conflict. It is time for our government leaders to treat public schools fairly and stop demonizing them in the name of politics and profit. Most importantly, it is time for communities to let the state legislature know their wishes for their schools: a fair accountability system and the resources needed to support education for all.  

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori Blaylock

Superintendent, Kaufman ISD

 

 

Micheal French

Superintendent, Terrell ISD

 

 

Blake Stiles

Superintendent, Athens ISD

 

 

Dr. Debra Crosby

Superintendent, Quinlan ISD

 

 

Kevin Worthy

Superintendent, Royse City ISD

 

 

Phil Edwards

Superintendent, Kemp ISD

 

 

Randy Perry

Superintendent, Malakoff ISD

 

 

Dr. Russell Marshall

Superintendent, Mabank ISD

 

 

John Rouse

Superintendent, Rains ISD

 

 

*Of the top 20 public school districts in Texas (as rated by Niche.com), 15 (75%) receive higher-than-average funding. Alternatively, of the 39 districts rated by TEA as “Improvement Required,” 30 (77%) receive lower-than-average funding. This demonstrates a high correlation between school funding and school ratings.

 

** STAAR Article or google HB 743 and STAAR

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