CISD and the New A-F Accountability System

CISD Responds to the new State Accountability System
Posted on 01/06/2017
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Castleberry Independent School District (CISD) believes in an accountability system which is not only unbiased and just in the consideration of all, but also is a system in which the students of CISD are served by an all-inclusive community-based accountability structure.  Beginning in August of 2018, the Texas Commissioner of Education will designate each public school district and campus in Texas with a rating in the form of an A–F letter grade in order to comply with House Bill 2804 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature in 2015.

CISD values a structure that assesses a variety of educational milestones that all stakeholders consider vital for college and career readiness, and that promotes the success of all students; however, a comprehensive community-based accountability system honoring such milestones that tell the whole educational story of each student is what various stakeholders throughout the State of Texas strive for, but fall well short of with the A-F accountability rating system. Regardless of what letter grade a district and campus receives, it cannot speak to the strong relationship that a community and a school district possess, especially within Castleberry ISD.

Castleberry Independent School District believes in accountability; however, the A through F rating system is not what students, parents, and community members deserve.  A
rating system that relies so heavily on high-stakes assessments which are unreliable due to the numerous issues encountered last year state-wide, and connotatively-loaded measurements greatly inhibits the district’s desire to move beyond a paper and pencil test and enhance areas of a student’s educational experience such as: career preparation, civic service, extra-curricular participation, fine arts, and advance course study.

Currently, this is what is known about A–F rating systems:

  • A–F rating systems are primarily established through the use once-per-year standardized test scores.
  • A–F rating systems have not worked in other states.
  • To reduce the many measures of school and district performance to a single grade, A–F rating systems rely on pages upon pages of complicated rules and calculations.
  • A–F systems fail to consider varying socioeconomic circumstances that greatly influence student performance and unfairly assumes that all students in all districts or schools start out on a level playing field.
  • Grades in an A–F system will align with wealth or poverty and likely punish poor schools for being poor thus creating an additional educational disadvantage for students already striving to overcome the stressors associated with poverty.
  • A–F rating systems provide no sense of what schools must do to improve.
  • A–F rating systems generate false impressions about entire neighborhoods of children and shame students.

CISD has a focused strategic plan which places a tremendous amount of emphasis on transforming teaching and learning for all students, as well as going above and beyond state assessments.  In addition, the success that the students of CISD have experienced reflects the strong relationship and support of parents and community members, and for this we say Thank You.  If you have questions on the complexity of the new A–F rating system, contact your elected officials in Austin. Ask them to explain the five domains and how ratings will be determined for each.

(Source: A–F Talking Points 2017, Texas Association of School Administrators)

Wagner, L. (2015). Virginia governor signs into law repeal of A-F school grades. Retrieved from