A-F Campus & District Ratings

Background

House Bill 2804, passed by the 84th Texas Legislature in 2015:
  • requires the commissioner of education, beginning with the 2017-18 school year, to assign each district and campus an overall performance rating based on an A-F scale
  • mandates that the commissioner also assign to each district and campus a separate letter grade for each of the five domains
  • requires the letter rating to be assigned by August 15 of each year thereafter
  • states that a letter rating of A, B, or C is considered acceptable, and a rating of D or F is considered unacceptable
  • prevents districts from receiving an overall or domain rating of A if any campus in the district has received a corresponding domain or overall letter grade of D or F

Read more about HB 2804.

 
TEA Letter to Administrators: Indicators for A-F Academic Accountability System and accompanying A-F List of Indicators (December 1, 2016)

TASA's Position

Advocate for the establishment of a comprehensive accountability system that looks beyond high-stakes, multiple-choice exams to meaningful assessments that have value for students, parents, and teachers, as well as measures what each community deems important in promoting college and career readiness. Oppose A–F campus and district ratings.
 

TASA Accountability Series

Knowing the concerns of TASA members about the state accountability system, state testing requirements, and the pending implementation of A-F ratings due to HB 2804, the TASA Executive Committee authorized the development of the “Texas Accountability Series,” a collection of essays to inform school leaders, policymakers, and the public about the potential impact and consequences of the A-F ratings on Texas public schools.
 
We have found no research to support A-F school rating systems as effective. We believe that Texas students would be better served by a comprehensive community-based accountability system that looks beyond high-stakes, multiple-choice tests to meaningful assessments that have value for students, parents, and teachers, as well as measures what each community deems important in promoting college and career readiness. For more in-depth information, see the “Texas Accountability Series” of essays:
 
 
 
 

Related Videos

TASB Webinar on A-F Featuring Commissioner of Education

The Texas Association of School Boards held a webinar on February 8 in which Commissioner of Education Mike Morath spoke about the A-F school/district rating system. See the video of the webinar.

Amarillo ISD "More Than a Grade" Video Series

Amarillo ISD has produced a series of videos called "More Than a Grade" in response to the A-F school rating system. See the videos on the district's YouTube channel.

Clear Creek ISD: A-F vs. Community-Based Accountability

Clear Creek ISD Superintendent Greg Smith explains the state's new A-F school rating system and talks about the community-based accountability system that CCISD has implemented to report on the measures deemed most important by the local community.

Georgetown ISD Video on A-F Accountability System

Georgetown ISD Superintendent Fred Brent discusses the A-F school rating system and the vision of GISD.

Klein ISD Video on A-F

Hear from Klein ISD Superintendent Bret Champion on the difference between student and school letter grades.

Region 10 Superintendents Press Conference

On January 9, many Region 10 superintendents and other public education supporters came together for a press conference highlighting the legislative priorities that more than 60 districts in the region have adopted and that include repeal of the A-F school rating system. Watch a video of the press conference below:

Related Articles and Editorials

In addition to the articles and editorials shown below, please see TASA's Facebook page for posts featuring more articles related to A-F school ratings.
  • A-F Letter Grades: More Questions than Answers

    by Moak, Casey and Associates Year Published: January 2017

    "Accountability systems are only useful if their measures are accurate, credible, clear, and useful. Despite good intentions, and a fundamental structure in HB 2804 that is capable of generating a more nuanced understanding of public school performance, the features of TEA's provisional A-F grading system produced ratings that are neither clear nor comparable. The letter grades’ lack of clarity and meaning risks leading the public to make unjustified and, in some cases, harmful inferences about differences in the quality of public schools. The 85th legislative session provides Texans with one last opportunity to try and answer the many questions about using A-F letter grades in the accountability system before they become permanent in spring 2018." Read the full article.

    Comments (-1)
  • Texas A-F Grades Make Low-income Schools Look Worse, Analysis Shows

    by By Julie Chang , Melissa B. Taboada, and Dan Hill, Austin American-Statesman Year Published: January 2017

    "Growing research shows parent income is one of the strongest predictors of good scores on standardized tests. Those scores largely determine a school’s A-F grade. The wealthier the student, the less likely their education will be interrupted by the lack of social needs like health care, nutritious foods, transportation and housing." Read the full article.

    Comments (-1)
  • A-F Outrage Spurs Lawmaker's Move to Kill Texas' New School Grading Plan

    by Dallas Morning News Year Published: January 2017

    "Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-Clint, filed a bill that would do away with the controversial new grades. She said an A-F system would disproportionately punish schools in the poorest communities that are already struggling to overcome many obstacles. ... Texans are likely to see more legislation attacking the new system after the session kicks off this month, as educators and public school advocates say this first look shows just how broken the new system will be. The A-F legislation narrowly passed in 2015." Read the full article.

    Comments (-1)
  • TASA: 461 Texas School Districts Oppose A-F Rating System

    by WFAA Staff, WFAA Year Published: January 2017

    "Four hundred sixty-one school districts (as of January) in Texas oppose an A-F rating system for the state's public schools, according to the Texas Association of School Administrators. All 461 districts have approved resolutions calling for the Texas Legislature to repeal the system passed in 2015, set to be put in place for the 2017-18 school year." Read the full article.

    Comments (-1)
  • Grading Schools: Texas Lawmakers Should Scrap a Plan that Assigns Public Schools A Through F Grades

    by Houston Chronicle Year Published: January 2017

    "Worse than a meaningless gimmick that promises more than it delivers, the new system could actually serve to stigmatize public schools and further dispirit teachers and principals who already have their hands full. Lawmakers should scuttle this new law before it does harm." Read the full editorial.

    Comments (-1)
  • Not Defined by a Letter Grade

    by Jodi Duron, superintendent, Elgin ISD Year Published: December 2016

    "Letter grades based largely on standardized test scores hold schools and districts accountable for many factors they do not control, such as social and economic barriers. As research has shown time and time again, poverty is highly correlated with low academic achievement. That doesn’t mean students of poverty are not able to learn; rather, they have greater challenges and obstacles to overcome in order to learn. ... The fact is an A-F grading system cannot account for the many challenges that districts, like Elgin ISD, serving high numbers of students living in poverty face. Yes, poverty matters." Read the full article.

    Comments (-1)
  • 16 Northeast Texas Superintendents Sign Letter Opposing A-F Ratings

    by Athens Daily Review Year Published: December 2016
    "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." Read the article.
    Comments (-1)
  • ‘Ridiculous’ A-F School Grades Paint Partial Picture

    by Dr. John Thompson, historian and retired teacher Year Published: October 2016
    “Oklahoma should avoid the mistakes of 15 years ago and refrain from bestowing respectability on those ridiculous grade cards, the latest of which were released Thursday by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Some pieces of the Oklahoma A-F Report Card data will prove beneficial, but the idea that a single grade can be generated by those numbers is nutty. We all knew that the low-poverty magnet and charter schools would earn high A's and that high-poverty schools will mostly get F’s.” Read the full editorial.
    Comments (-1)
  • Educators Gather to Hear Theories, Ways to Improve Accountability Ratings

    by The Huntsville Item Year Published: October 2016
    “The agreement among researchers, experts, teachers and so on is that A-F systems do not work. I have found reams of research that suggests that they do not work,” testing expert John Tanner said. “What happens over and over again with labeling systems is that the ‘D’ school has to make decisions as if the whole school was a ‘D’ school, as if all of the students are ‘D’ students. That damages the students, and in addition, these schools are supposed to change everything, so ‘D’ schools have a tendency to go into fight or flight mode and that is very dangerous.” Read the article.
    Comments (-1)
  • A-F Accountability ... Really?

    by James M. Largent, Ed.D., superintendent, Granbury ISD Year Published: October 2016
    “Under our current accountability system, the bulk of our grade of A-F will depend on a once-a-year, multiple choice, bubble test that our students have to sit quietly and take for up to 3-4 hours at a time. This test has been proven to be defective, not statistically significant or reliable, and graded by minimum-wage employees hired off the Internet. The company making millions off this test cannot even guarantee their system will work when our students take the test online and also has a history of losing tests, sending them to the wrong schools, and grading them improperly. Is this really what our campuses should be graded on?” Read the full article.
    Comments (-1)
  • Setting Aside A-F is a Legislative Imperative

    by Johnny L. Veselka, TASA Executive Director Year Published: September 15, 2016

    “An A-F system fails to account for the presence of socioeconomic conditions that in turn influence performance. Wealthy schools are not automatically good schools, and poor schools are not automatically bad schools, and yet A-F grading systems tend to reward schools accordingly. Rather than help each improve according to its needs, the system tends to punish poor schools for being poor while telling rich schools they are doing fine.” Read the full article.

    Comments (-1)
  • Are Our Schools That Bad?

    by Hannah Sparling, Cincinnati Enquirer Year Published: September 2016
    “It’s not about being afraid of accountability. We want to be held accountable by our community,” said Mason City Schools (Cincinnati, Ohio) spokeswoman Tracey Carson. But “with all the different calculations that there are (to get the overall grades), we’re not even sure that they’re accurate.” Read the full article.
    Comments (-1)
  • It's Coming: A Through F School Labels

    by Bobby J. Rigues, Aledo ISD School Board Trustee Year Published: June 12, 2016
    “Labeling a campus with a letter grade creates a false impression about an entire neighborhood of children. A campus labeled with the letter “A” promotes the idea that an overwhelming majority of students make A’s and the campus is anointed with a gold seal of approval by the State of Texas.On the other hand, a campus labeled with an “F” will be viewed as inferior with failing students, teachers and administrators – punitive in nature.” Read the full article.
    Comments (-1)
  • What They Said: What I Learned from Conversations with Texas Educators

    by State Rep. Diego Bernal Year Published: August 18, 2016
    "This [A-F] district and campus rating system can ultimately shame students, branding them individually with their school’s score. Students might not be aware of the precise meaning of an 'improvement required' campus, but every student knows what an 'F' means. The inequality of the current school finance system all but ensures that a campus’ letter grade will align with the wealth or poverty of the surrounding area, but the students will carry the weight of that grade in a more personal, internal way." Read the full report.
    Comments (-1)

Related TASA Capitol Watch Alerts

Texas Tribune Interviews Commissioner of Education Mike Morath
05.18.2016 — On May 17, the Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith sat down with Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath at the Austin Club for a conversation that touched on school finance, transgender bathroom policies, STAAR, A-F ratings, and more.

House Public Education Committee Adds Senate’s Campus A-F Ratings to HB 2804
04.29.2015 — The House Public Education Committee heard testimony Tuesday on SB 6, the campus A-F ratings bill. Rather than passing it on its own, the committee added its provisions to Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock’s bill, HB 2804, which also alters the state public school accountability system. (Reps. Alma Allen, Marsha Farney, Mary Gonzalez, and Gary VanDeaver voted against adding the A-F rating provisions.)

House Public Education Committee to Hear Senate’s Campus A-F Rating Bill, Others on April 28
04.24.2015 — The House Public Education Committee will meet at 8 a.m., Tuesday, April 28, to hear testimony on the a number of new bills as well as the Senate's campus A-F rating bill.

Senate Passes Campus A-F Ratings Bill, Sends to House
03.30.15 — After much discussion, the Senate passed SB 6 today with a vote of 20 to 10. The bill would require Texas campuses to receive A-F performance ratings rather than ratings of exemplary, recognized, acceptable, or unacceptable.

Senate Education Committee Passes Out Campus A-F Rating, Dual-Credit, Vapor and Defibrillator Bills
03.18.2015 — The Senate suspended the rules yesterday to allow the Senate Education Committee to call a previously unannounced meeting immediately following the adjournment of the full Senate. During the meeting, the committee passed out four bills previously considered by the committee.

TASA Testifies Against Campus A-F Ratings Bill
03.12.2015 — During the March 12 Senate Education Committee meeting, TASA expressed opposition to SB 6, a bill that would require Texas campuses to receive A-F performance ratings.

Senate Education Committee to Consider Bills on A-F Ratings, Dual Credit, Virtual Courses and More
03.09.2015 — The Senate Education Committee will meet at 9 a.m., Thursday, March 12, to consider six bills as introduced.

Criticism Mounts From States That Have Adopted A–F Accountability Grading System
03.04.2013 — In light of the recent push by Texas legislators, business leaders and the governor to move the Texas accountability rating system to an A–F grading scale, we have compiled several news articles and a research report from the Oklahoma Center for Education Policy on the A-F grading system.

Resolution on A-F Rating Systems

The Resolution Concerning the A-F Accountability Rating System for Texas Public Schools calls on the Texas Legislature to repeal the A-F letter-grade school/district rating system to be implemented in 2017-18 and to develop a community-based accountability system. TASA urges districts to place this resolution on the agenda for their January board meetings.
 
With support from communities across Texas, this type of grassroots effort can make a difference. In 2012, 881 districts representing more than 4.4 million students adopted resolutions calling on the Texas Legislature to reexamine the state’s overreliance on standardized testing. Together, these districts captured the attention of lawmakers, business leaders, parents and the news media, not just in Texas, but around the nation. As a result, we saw positive changes in the assessment and accountability system at the high school level via House Bill 5 in 2013 and via Senate Bill 149 in 2015. 

If we are to stop the A-F rating system before it harms Texas schools and students, we need all districts to stand united on this issue. We need statewide support of the resolution on A-F rating systems to push for the development of an accountability system that relies on multiple assessments and more accurately reflects what students know, appreciate, and can do. 
 
Districts with boards that approve the resolution should distribute a press release (download a sample release to customize) to local media to alert them of the board's action, explain the concerns with Texas’ A-F system, and let the public know there is a better alternative.

We at TASA would also like to know if your district has passed the resolution, so please share any press releases or email confirmation of your board’s action with Amy Francisco, TASA Communications and Media Relations. 
 

Chamber of Commerce Resolution

The Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution opposing the A-F school rating system on Wednesday, January 25. The resolution states that the chamber opposes the A-F accountability system because Angelina County cannot afford to take the risks associated with its potential negative impacts on economic development and Texas’ education system. Read and/or download the resolution to share with your local chamber.

Districts That Have Passed A-F Resolutions

As of February 24, TASA had confirmations that the following 538 school districts representing nearly 2.8 million students (and three organizations: TEPSA, TCASE, and the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce) had adopted resolutions opposing the A-F school rating system.
District Region Students
Abilene ISD 14 15,481
Alamo Heights ISD 20 4,824
Albany ISD 14 485
Aldine ISD 4 64,175
Aledo ISD 11 5,021
Alice ISD 2 4,684
Alief ISD 4 44,026
Alpine ISD 18 1,000
Alto ISD 7 599
Alvarado ISD 11 3,385
Alvin ISD 4 20,817
Alvord ISD 11 677
Amarillo ISD 16 30,353
Anahuac ISD 4 1,212
Angleton ISD 4 6,366
Anna ISD 10 2,918
Anson ISD 14 652
Anton ISD 17 225
Aquilla ISD 12 245
Aransas County ISD 2 3,161
Archer City ISD 9 424
Argyle ISD 11 2,137
Arlington ISD 11 58,226
Arp ISD 7 777
Aspermont ISD 14 225
Athens ISD 10 2,963
Aubrey ISD 11 2,211
Austin ISD 13 75,454
Avalon ISD 10 336
Avery ISD 8 332
Azle ISD 11 5,856
Baird ISD 14 302
Balmorhea ISD 18 148
Bangs ISD 15 939
Banquete ISD 2 869
Bartlett ISD 13 340
Bastrop ISD 13 9,529
Beaumont ISD 5 17,393
Beckville ISD 7 642
Bellevue ISD 9 146
Bells ISD 10 736
Belton ISD 12 10,158
Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco ISD 2 522
Benjamin ISD 9 83
Big Sandy ISD 7 648
Big Spring ISD 18 3,805
Birdville ISD 11 22,667
Bland ISD 10 577
Blanket ISD 15 189
Blooming Grove ISD 12 798
Bloomington ISD 3 832
Blue Ridge ISD 10 659
Bluff Dale ISD 11 96
Blum iSD 12 340
Boerne ISD 20 7,592
Boles ISD 10 474
Boling ISD 3 1,065
Bonham ISD 10 1,698
Borger ISD 16 2,470
Bosqueville ISD 12 606
Bovina ISD 16 443
Bowie ISD 9 1,572
Boyd ISD 11 1,095
Brazos ISD 6 764
Brazosport ISD 4 11,400
Brenham ISD 6 4,594
Bridge City ISD 5 2,694
Bridgeport ISD 11 1,974
Brock ISD 11 1,237
Brownfield ISD 17 1,690
Brownsboro ISD 7 2,562
Bruceville-Eddy ISD 12 719
Bryan ISD 6 15,105
Bryson ISD 9 243
Bullard ISD 7 2,338
Buna ISD 5 1,361
Burkburnett ISD 9 3,010
Burleson ISD 11 10,809
Burnet CISD 13 2,899
Burton ISD 6 386
Caddo Mills ISD 10 1,602
Caldwell ISD 6 1,676
Campbell ISD 10 328
Canton ISD 10 2,009
Canutillo ISD 19 5,555
Carlisle ISD 7 588
Carroll ISD 11 7,691
Carthage ISD 7 2,506
Castleberry ISD 11 3,756
Cedar Hill ISD 10 7,574
Celeste ISD 10 461
Celina ISD 10 2,239
Center ISD 7 2,541
Centerville ISD 6 632
Central ISD 7 1,486
Central Heights ISD 7 1,086
Channelview ISD 4 9,569
Channing ISD 16 154
Chapel Hill ISD 7 3,398
Chico ISD 11 551
Childress ISD 16 1,078
Chillicothe ISD 9 184
Chilton ISD 12 494
China Spring ISD 12 2,493
Chireno ISD 7 356
Clarksville ISD 8 477
Clear Creek ISD 4 38,671
Cleburne ISD 11 6,209
Cleveland ISD 4 3,847
Coahoma ISD 18 850
College Station ISD 6 12,209
Colorado ISD 14 902
Collinsville ISD 10 504
Colmesneil ISD 5 386
Columbia-Brazoria ISD 4 2,869
Columbus ISD 3 1,489
Commerce ISD 10 1,500
Como-Pickton CISD 8 701
Comstock ISD 15 179
Coolidge ISD 12 317
Cooper ISD 8 750
Coppell ISD 10 11,470
Copperas Cove ISD 12 7,303
Corpus Christi ISD 2 35,709
Corsicana ISD 12 5,557
Cotulla ISD 20 1,238
Covington ISD 12 295
Crandall ISD 10 3,290
Crockett ISD 6 1,184
Crockett County CCSD 15 746
Crosby ISD 4 5,333
Crowley ISD 11 14,022
Crystal City ISD 20 1,808
D'Hanis ISD 20 336
Daingerfield-Lone Star ISD 8 968
Dalhart ISD 16 1,620
Dallas ISD 10 145,694
Damon ISD 4 164
Danbury ISD 4 733
Darrouzett ISD 16 125
Dayton ISD 4 4,891
Deer Park ISD 4 12,470
DeKalb ISD 8 741
DeLeon ISD 14 632
Denison ISD 10 4,252
Denton ISD 11 25,748
Denver City ISD 17 1,633
DeSoto ISD 10 9,116
Dew ISD 12 147
Deweyville ISD 5 582
Dickinson ISD 4 10,111
Dime Box ISD 13 174
Dimmit ISD 16 1,091
Dripping Springs ISD 13 5,251
Driscoll ISD 2 250
Dumas ISD 16 4,207
Duncanville ISD 10 11,982
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD 11 18,078
Early ISD 15 1,142
East Bernard ISD 3 953
East Central ISD 20 9,384
East Chambers ISD 5 1,352
Ector ISD 10 236
Ector County ISD 18 29,035
Eden CISD 15 234
El Campo ISD 3 3,333
El Paso ISD 19 55,439
Elgin ISD 13 3,968
Ennis ISD 10 5,363
Era ISD 11 463
Etoile ISD 7 121
Eula ISD 14 375
Eustace ISD 7 1,467
Evadale ISD 5 438
Evant ISD 12 219
Everman ISD 11 5,229
Fabens ISD 19 2,314
Fairfield ISD 12 1,860
Farmersville ISD 10 1,494
Farwell ISD 16 513
Fayetteville ISD 13 218
Ferris ISD 10 2,320
Flatonia ISD 13 552
Florence ISD 13 938
Floresville ISD 20 3,715
Floydada ISD 17 731
Forney ISD 10 8,965
Forsan ISD 18 703
Fort Bend ISD 4 70,070
Fort Davis ISD 18 209
Fort Sam Houston ISD 20 1,432
Fort Stockton ISD 18 2,261
Fort Worth ISD 11 79,375
Friendswood ISD 4 5,877
Friona ISD 16 1,052
Frisco ISD 10 51,434
Gainesville ISD 11 2,681
Galena Park ISD 4 21,016
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