TEA News Release –
Texas Education Agency delays release of new A-F district, school scores
Story by Keri Heath, Austin American-Statesman
The Texas Education Agency announced Tuesday, Sept. 12, it is pushing back the highly anticipated release of newly revised campus and district accountability ratings from Sept. 28 to past October at the earliest.
Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath called for the delay to recalculate targets for student growth, which measures how much a student learned over a year.
The new scores — which assign districts and schools an A through F letter grade — have drawn the ire of many district leaders who say the new formula unfairly raises goals for students who’ve already graduated and will likely result in lower scores for districts.
TEA will take the next month to recalculate the student growth targets, Morath said in a call with the media.
A district’s A-F score is comprised of three main components.
All schools are scored on how students perform on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test, or STAAR, and on how much a student grew in a year. For example, if students on a campus only learned about a semester’s worth of material in a whole year, that school would get a lower growth score.
Districts also get scored based on how well they close academic gaps.
High schools are also graded on graduation rates and on how well staff prepare students for college, a career or the military.
The TEA decided to recalculate the growth component, which set new goals based on how much Texas students grew in 2019 and in 2022, Morath said.
“It would appear that 2022 is an anomalous growth year emerging from the COVID lows,” Morath said.
Typically, the state picks the highest score — either STAAR scores or growth — for a district or campus.
In 2019, the growth score was the highest for only 19% of districts, according to the TEA. In 2022, 51% of districts used growth as their highest scores.
"We didn't know how this year was going to turn out until we saw how this year was going to turn out," Morath said. "We also look at growth information. Once we saw the average rate of growth looked much closer to 2019, it was then we realized the baseline targets that incorporated 2022 would be inappropriate. You should not build goals off of anomalous performance."
The release of the new scores has come with controversy.
Last month, a group of districts, including Del Valle, sued Morath in his official capacity over the new score criteria. The lawsuit claims the new rankings will unlawfully lower district and campus scores and that Morath waited too late to announce the changes.
In a call with reporters this week, Morath said a Jan. 25 hearing is scheduled for the case.
“We think the lawsuit is without merit,” Morath said.
The delay also pushes the release of the scores back past the anticipated start of an expected legislative special session focused on education and school choice. Many school advocates and lawmakers expect Gov. Greg Abbott to call the special session after the conclusion of suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial, which began Sept. 5.
The new ratings will now likely come out late October or early November.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Texas Education Agency delays release of new A-F district, school scores