AUSTIN-- Texas has unveiled a new school accountability rating system that emphasizes closing achievement gaps between low-income and minority students and higher-performing cohorts of young people.
Education Commissioner Michael Williams unveiled the new ratings scheme Tuesday.
He has long promised that traditional public schools, charter schools and school districts will be held more accountable for how well their minority students, and those from poor families perform.
Ratings based on the new system will be first issued Aug. 8.
They also rate schools and districts on the overall achievement of all students, the academic progress students make and how ready they are for college upon graduation.
Williams stopped short of converting the current system to letter grades A through F. But he said discussions will continue on a possible conversion by 2014.
Commissioner Williams announces 2013 accountability system AUSTIN " Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams today announced the four components that will be part of the new 2013 state accountability system for school districts, campuses and charters in Texas.
The first ratings under this system will be issued by the Texas Education Agency on August 8, 2013.
I have heard the criticism of the previous accountability system, with its overemphasis on a school TMs lowest performing areas and its blind spot to what a district or charter might be doing well, said Commissioner Williams.
The new system makes use of multiple indicators to provide parents and taxpayers a more detailed overview of the successes, as well as areas of necessary improvement, for each school district, charter and campus.
The revised system will still use student assessments, but also makes use of additional indicators to provide parents and taxpayers greater detail on the performance of a district or charter and each individual campus throughout the state.
The 2013 accountability system will use a performance index framework that considers four areas (including student groups that are part of that index): Student Achievement " Represents a snapshot of performance across all subjects, on both general and alternative assessments, at an established performance standard. (All Students) Student Progress " Provides an opportunity for diverse campuses to show improvements made independent of overall achievement levels. Growth is evaluated by subject and student group. (All Students; Student Groups by Race/Ethnicity; English Language Learners; Special Education) Closing Performance Gaps " Emphasizes advanced academic achievement of the economically disadvantaged student group and the lowest performing race/ethnicity student groups at each campus or district. (All Students; Student Groups by Race/Ethnicity) Postsecondary Readiness " Includes measures of high school completion, and beginning in 2014, State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) performance at the postsecondary readiness standard. This measure emphasizes the importance of students receiving high school diplomas that provide the foundation necessary for success in college, the workforce, job training programs or the military. (All Students; Student Groups by Race/Ethnicity; English Language Learners; Special Education)District and campuses with students in Grade 9 or above must meet targets on all four indexes. Districts and campuses with students in Grade 8 or lower must meet targets on the first three indexes (excluding Postsecondary Readiness).Districts, campuses and charters will receive one of three ratings: Met Standard " Met accountability targets on all indexes for which they have performance data in 2013 Met Alternative Standard " Met modified performance index targets for alternative education campuses or districts Improvement Required " Did not meet one or more performance index targetsFor eligible campuses that achieve the rating of Met Standard, distinction designations in the following areas will also be assigned for outstanding academic achievement in reading/English language arts and mathematics: Top 25 Percent Student Progress Academic Achievement in Reading/English language arts Academic Achievement in Mathematics
These distinction designations will be based on campus performance in relation to a comparison group of campuses.
It TMs important to note that while the new system bases accountability on a index framework, the state will emphasize the importance of closing achievement gaps and addressing the needs of all students in Texas, said Commissioner Williams.
Those districts and campuses that are leaders in improving achievement for all its students will be easily identified under this system.
Because all aspects of the performance index framework cannot be fully implemented at this time, 2013 will be considered a transition year.
Accountability advisory groups will reconvene later this year to finalize recommendations for accountability ratings criteria for 2014 and beyond.
In addition, work will continue on the conversion of this new system into an A-F rating system for 2014.
Williams acknowledged various aspects of the state accountability system are currently being discussed by the Texas Legislature.
Any changes in bills passed during the legislative session can and will be incorporated into the system.
For a detailed overview of all components of the 2013 state accountability system, visit the Texas Education Agency website at http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/account/2013/index.html.