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What’s New About TEA Accountability Scoring?

TEA Accountability
TEA Logo | Image by Texas Education Agency/Facebook

Accompanying last month’s release of the 2024 Accountability Manual for public review, the Texas Education Agency revealed new tools to help people better understand the new scoring system.

Publicly funded school districts and open-enrollment charter schools are subject to an annual review by the state comprising an A-F rating that provides district officials and parents with critical information about the quality of education students receive. This year’s Accountability Manual, produced by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), outlines the system for determining such scores.

Education officials have also released tools and materials to help inform stakeholders about the new metrics, such as the 2024 College Career and Military Readiness (CCMR) Verifier and the 2024 Scaled Score Conversion Tool (SSCT).

District officials can use the CCMR Verifier to ensure that the CCMR data TEA will use for scoring is current and correct. This component — along with STAAR performance and graduation rate — is used to determine how well a campus or district did in terms of student achievement.

SSCT adjusts a given campus’s raw scores to a letter grade for clarity. Since different components, such as STAAR performance, are weighted differently by school type, the scaling tool can help stakeholders better understand their ranking. Scaled campus grades are then used to determine a district’s overall ranking.

The new accountability system had a rough start after being revealed last year.

TEA has claimed that the accountability system refresh is fairer to struggling school systems since it allows for student progress to be taken into account — judged by the districts’ abilities to “close the gaps for students most in need” — if student achievement is lacking.

However, some public school districts disagreed and filed a lawsuit against the changes, claiming that the new methodology was unfair. Dallas ISD and dozens of other taxpayer-supported school districts involved in the complaint successfully blocked the release of the TEA’s accountability ratings for the 2022-2023 school term after Travis County District Judge Catherine Mauzy sided with them.

As a result, Dallas ISD’s most recent available accountability report is from the 2021-2022 school year. It shows lackluster results on that year’s STAAR exam, with just 41% of students scoring at grade level and nearly 20% of the graduating Class of 2022 failing to earn a diploma within four years.

Moreover, TEA rated 57 Dallas ISD campuses a D and 29 more an F. Its overall rating was a B, which Dallas ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde previously reasoned would likely drop to a C in 2022-2023 with the new system, per NBC 5 DFW.

Some have heavily criticized those behind the ongoing litigation of dodging the 2022-2023 ratings to the detriment of their students.

“The harsh reality of this situation is that when Texas schools don’t have accountability ratings, the group that suffers the most are students,” Mary Lynn Pruneda, an advisor with the nonprofit Texas 2036, explained in January, according to The Texas Tribune. “After the pandemic, only about half of our students are on grade level, and we’re graduating more than 120,000 students each year who aren’t ready for either college or a career.”

The legal saga has also thrown a monkey wrench into DX’sBad Apple” quarterly feature, which identifies the Dallas ISD trustee whose education district contains the most students attending schools that received a letter grade of D or below.

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