Austin among districts piloting a new way to rate schools

12:06 p.m Monday, Dec. 18, 2017 Texas News & Politics
The Texas House Public Education Committee earlier this year discussed House Bill 22, which scales back the contentious A-F accountability system. (RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The Austin school district is one of 20 districts and charter systems chosen to participate in a pilot program to develop its own system of grading itself.

The pilot was established under a new law House Bill 22, which also scaled back the A-F accountability system, unpopular among school district officials.

READ: Austin district calls on lawmakers to repeal A-F school rating system

Under the A-F accountability system, school districts and campuses will be given an overall letter grade and in three categories — how well students perform on state standardized tests; how well students improve compared to similar school districts and campuses; and how well school districts and schools close the academic gap between different student populations, based on race, income, learning disability and whether the student has moved from school to school.

Districts will be rated under A-F starting August 2018 and campuses will be rated starting the following year.

In addition to receiving these letter grades from the state in the categories, school districts will have the ability to grade their campuses under a locally-developed accountability system, which is being piloted by 20 school districts.

The purpose of locally-developed accountability systems is to allow school districts to highlight special programs they’re implementing to help bolster the academic performance of certain students, especially those who are learning English as a second language and are from low-income families.

School districts have had the chance to grade themselves for the last three years under a similar system called Community and Student Engagement. It ended under HB 22.

After the pilot completes, school districts across the state are expected to have the ability to implement the locally-developed accountability system if they want to, starting in the 2018-2019 school year.

The other school districts and charters participating in the pilot are: Alief, Bullard, Canadian, Clear Creek, Dallas, El Paso, Humble, Jonesboro, Lyford, Midland, Point Isabel, Premier High Schools, Richland Collegiate High School, San Saba, Sharyland, Snyder, Spring Branch, Sunnyvale and Waco.

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