What’s Wrong With the A-F Grades for Schools?
In the 2015, a new grading system for schools, using A-F grades, was mandated, beginning in 2017-18. In January, the Texas Education Agency released unofficial grades, based on 2015-16 statewide testing, for public comment. TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said the following about the provisional grades:
“The ratings in this report are for informational purposes to meet a legislative requirement and represent work-in-progress models that are likely to change before A–F ratings become effective in August 2018. No inferences about official district or campus performance in the 2015–16 school year should be drawn from these ratings, and these ratings should not be considered predictors of future district or campus performance ratings.”
The grades showed a flawed rating system, with school district statewide registering their displeasure with the way the system is being used to rank schools. Especially troubling is the “apple to oranges” comparisons, with schools, including schools of choice (charter schools, magnet schools and other special programs) being compared to neighborhood schools that accept a broader range of students, including special education, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students.
State Representative Mary Gonzalez (El Paso) has filed House Bill 843 that will replace the A-F rating system with the previous ratings of exemplary, recognized, acceptable and needs improvement.
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