Commissioner releases A-F accountability system framework

Due to legislation passed last session (House Bill 22) that requires TEA to develop a new state accountability system and rate districts with an A-F rating in the 2017-18 school year, Education Commissioner Mike Morath released his final decisions regarding the A-F Accountability System Framework.

Although campuses will continue to be rated “Met Standard” or “Needs Improvement” for the 2017-18 school year, HB 22 provides that campuses will receive an A-F rating in the 2018-19 school year. TEA developed the accountability system using various modes of stakeholder input, in which TCTA participated. At the same time, and in conjunction with the development of the new A-F accountability system, TEA finalized its state Every Student Succeeds Act Plan, which the U.S. Department of Education recently approved. In an attempt to align state and federal accountability requirements, TEA incorporated the federal ESSA requirements in Domain 3 of the three-domain state accountability system. 

TEA has made clear that although the commissioner’s final decisions regarding the A-F Accountability Framework have been published, it intends to make additional changes through amendments it plans to submit to USDE on the state ESSA Plan. Additionally, TEA emphasized that the A-F Accountability Framework will serve as the basis for the 2018 accountability manual which is scheduled to be published as a proposed rule for further public comment in mid-May. 

TCTA is reviewing the commissioner’s final A-F accountability system framework decisions and will be providing our members with more details in the upcoming weeks.

Accountability for hurricane-impacted schools/districts

In its announcement of the release of the Commissioner’s final decisions regarding the A-F Accountability System Framework, TEA stated that “For districts and campuses impacted by Hurricane Harvey, an appendix to the 2018 Accountability Manual will be published as a proposed rule separately in June. This appendix will provide specific answers as to what adjustments to accountability determinations will be made because of the storm.” 

This has been an issue of major concern for school districts and educators due to the likelihood of inaccurate test results for students traumatized and/or displaced by the hurricane. The Commissioner, at the urging of Governor Abbott, educators, parents and education organizations, formally requested a federal waiver from ESSA accountability requirements in January for “flexibility from school improvement provisions of ESSA for LEAs (local school districts) in the heaviest impacted areas as we work to provide support and relief to LEAs heavily affected by the storm. TEA may not be providing state accountability ratings for certain campuses in the impacted regions; however, we will continue to identify all campuses in the state as comprehensive and/or targeted as outlined in our ESSA State Plan.” 

Click here to read more.

USDE has yet to grant the waiver. The commissioner has made public statements that TEA has been gathering data on students and educators displaced by the hurricane, as well as facility closures and disruptions, and based on that data, he will likely set a bar to determine school/district eligibility to receive a “Not Rated” rating for this school year. Click here to read more.

Excluding second-year English learners from accountability for 2017-2018

Additionally, TEA officially announced that it intends to seek a federal waiver to exclude second-year English Learners from the state accountability system for 2018 due to changes in the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment (TELPAS) that make it impossible to include EL progress measures in the accountability system for that year. According to TEA, for 2019, English learners in their second year in U.S. schools will be included in accountability performance measures using an EL progress measure similar to the one used in 2017 and prior years.

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