The article appeared in the Summer 2018 edition of The Classroom Teacher.

Legislation passed in 2017 revised the current state accountability system, effective August 2018, including reducing the current five-domain system to three domains: student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps. Indicators in the student achievement domain for high schools will include a long list of non-STAAR-based options for demonstration of college/career readiness.

The revised accountability system also incorporates campus ratings from approved local accountability plans for up to 50 percent of the overall rating awarded to an eligible campus (effectively replacing current Domain 5/community and student engagement). (For comprehensive details on the new system, click here.)

Although A-F ratings will be assigned to school districts beginning in August 2018, A-F ratings for campuses will not take effect until August 2019, with a “What if” report by the Texas Education Agency to the legislature previewing what campus grades would look like under the new system due by January 2019. A change was made so that a rating of “D” no longer means unacceptable but instead means “needs improvement” (still high enough to be eligible to pursue District of Innovation status). 

The commissioner of education, who is charged with making decisions about how the new system will be implemented, published his final decisions for public comment in June. The 2018 Accountability Manual includes significant details regarding definitions of indicators, the weight assigned to the indicators, and how accountability ratings will be calculated, among others. One of the major decisions made by the commissioner was how districts and schools impacted by Hurricane Harvey would be handled under the new system. Campuses, school districts and open-enrollment charter schools directly affected by Hurricane Harvey will be eligible for special evaluation this year, if they meet at least one of a number of specific criteria. Campuses meeting at least one of the criteria that would have otherwise been rated “Improvement Required” will receive a “Not Rated” rating for 2018. Districts or open-enrollment charter schools meeting at least one of the criteria that would have received a B, C, D or F rating will be rated “Not Rated” for 2018. Campuses will be evaluated under the Hurricane Harvey Provision if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • The campus identified 10 percent or more of enrolled students with specific crisis codes for displaced or homeless students. Campus enrollment is based on October snapshot data; OR
  • The campus reported that 10 percent or more of its teachers experienced homelessness due to Hurricane Harvey (as reported in a Homeless Survey announced Feb. 14, 2018); OR
  • The campus was reported to TEA as closed for 10 or more instructional days due to Hurricane Harvey; OR
  • The campus was reported to TEA as displaced due to Hurricane Harvey either because the student population was relocated to another geographic location (at least through winter break) or the student population was required to share its own campus facility with the students of another campus closed as a direct result of Hurricane Harvey (at least through winter break).

School districts and open-enrollment charter schools will be labeled Not Rated if all campuses within the district or charter receive a Not Rated label as a result of the Hurricane Harvey Provision. Additionally, if 10 percent or more of the school district’s or open-enrollment charter school’s students were enrolled in a campus labeled Not Rated under the Hurricane Harvey Provision, the district or school will be labeled Not Rated.

In early August, TEA announced that 109 school districts and open-enrollment charter schools qualified for the Hurricane Harvey Provision. For purposes of required interventions based on consecutive years of receiving low ratings, 2017 and 2019 will be considered consecutive for those districts and charters that receive a Not Rated label in 2018. For more information, click here.

Editor's Note: 2018 accountability ratings were released on Aug. 15. Click here to read more.