- Twenty Texas school districts are participating in a new pilot program, passed by the state legislature this year along with other revisions to an A-F grading system for schools that will begin going into effect next year, that will allow them to locally develop a system of grading their schools, the Austin-American Statesman reports.
- The overall system grades schools in three areas — performance on standardized tests, how students improve compared to those in similar districts, and how well schools and districts close achievement gaps based on race, family income, learning disability and whether students have changed schools.
- Under the pilot system, which includes districts in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Waco and the Houston area, districts will be able to choose additional measures of accountability and ultimately continue using those measures after the pilot.
The pilot is part of a growing shift toward adopting accountability measures that more accurately describe how successful schools are at making progress with educating the students they serve. Grading and rating systems are now increasingly showing how much growth students are making over the course of the school year instead of focusing only on the percentage of students reaching proficiency levels.
The Virginia state board of education approved a similar revised accountability plan last month and will also add absenteeism rates, dropout rates and career readiness measures at the high school level. For school administrators, such broader measures of school success and student performance mean that their schools won’t be judged on only one indicator and can provide more accurate data on students’ strengths and the areas where improvement is needed.