As the legislative session nears an end, whether the Legislature will do anything to significantly revise the A-F accountability system is still unclear. Although the House passed its version of a revision to the A-F accountability system, HB 22, weeks ago, the Senate only recently took up consideration of the House bill in committee. During the Senate Education Committee hearing on Thursday, Senate Education committee Chair Larry Taylor substituted his own version of an accountability rewrite.

TCTA offered testimony on the Senate substitute for HB 22, noting that we were neutral on the bill, because, although it introduced a good number of non-test measures into the accountability system, it still didn’t delay implementation of the A-F rating system or eliminate summative accountability ratings like HB 22 does. However, similar to HB 22, the Senate substitute collapses the current five-domain system into three domains: student achievement, school performance, and school climate.

TCTA also cautioned senators not to take the approach the House took to include student performance on state tests in conjunction with a teacher quality indicator that HB 22 adds to the accountability system. TCTA urged senators instead to focus on more appropriate measures, including the percentage of teachers assigned to positions for which they hold appropriate certification, rates of teacher turnover, and the percentage of teachers with three or fewer years of experience.

TCTA additionally encouraged the Senate to include a school climate survey in its version of the accountability bill, pointing out that there are a number of validated school climate survey instruments available that measure student, educator and parent perceptions of various aspects of school climate, like safety, engagement, and teaching and learning conditions. TCTA referred to a number of other states already including school climate survey results in their accountability systems.