TEA Officially Adopts Accountability Metric

Classroom | Image by panitanphoto/Shutterstock
Classroom | Image by panitanphoto/Shutterstock

The Texas Education Agency has officially adopted a new accountability rating system for public school districts.

Earlier this year, TEA published its proposed 2024 Accountability Manual for public comment in the Texas Register. The manual is available for review.

TEA released a revised A-F accountability system last year, shortly after redesigning the STAAR exam.

“The refresh included changes to cut points, domain and indicator methodology, and changes to the overall system,” TEA stated in a news bulletin.

These changes were all maintained, although some edits were made to the manual for clarity in response to remarks made during the public comment period.

“To honor the A-F commitment to maintain the refreshed system without annual changes for up to five consecutive years, 2024 cut points, domain and indicator methodology, and the overall system remain the same as those communicated and established in rules adopted for 2023,” TEA continued.

As previously covered by The Dallas Express, ongoing litigation has blocked the release of the TEA’s accountability ratings for public school districts for the 2022-2023 school year based on this new system.

Last year, Dallas ISD joined dozens of other taxpayer-supported school districts in filing an injunction against the reports, which would have scored school systems under both the old and the new metric, being made public. Dallas ISD spent roughly $5.8 million in legal fees in 2023, though it is unclear how much taxpayer money was used to keep its scores from the public.

TEA accountability reports have high stakes. They provide key information about student achievement and areas for improvement. They also demonstrate to both current and prospective district parents the overall quality of education offered at a given campus.

“We all know parents do now look at these letter grades when they’re choosing where to live, so this could have an impact on property values, it could have an impact on student enrollment,” Dallas ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said last fall, per NBC 5 DFW.

Elizalde also told NBC that the new metrics would result in the district’s overall rating dropping from a B to a C due to the importance of the STAAR exams and more. In 2021-2022, Dallas ISD students underperformed, with only 41% of the district’s students scoring at grade level on their STAAR exams. The statewide average was 48%.

Additionally, the district fell short in its on-time graduation rate. Nearly 20% of the graduating Class of 2022 failed to earn a diploma within four years.

Those involved in the ongoing legal action have claimed that the new accountability metrics were unlawful, and a Travis County judge agreed. However, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath defended the agency’s changes.

“Maintaining high expectations helps guide our efforts to improve student learning and support. The A-F system is designed to properly reflect how well our schools are meeting those high expectations, and the adjustments we are making this year will ensure it continues to serve as a tool for parents and educators to help our students,” he said in a statement.

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