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Plano ISD Responds to Texas Education Agency’s “Work-in-Progress” Report

January 6, 2017

Preliminary accountability report released on January 6 applies the state’s proposed A-F rating format

Plano ISD remains focused on the progress and achievement of all students. “We understand and support the state’s placing significant weight on the achievement of economically disadvantaged students and those from all racial/ethnic subgroups,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Binggeli. “Programs and practices designed to close opportunity and achievement gaps while maintaining high levels of performance and rigor for all have emerged from a Plano ISD strategic focus in this area.”

The district, however, will be working with legislators to bring change to aspects of the “work-in-progress” report released January 6. The grades in all domains were established based on a bell curve approach that forced approximately 70% of schools and districts to be labeled as “C”, “D” or “F”—irrespective of any level of performance.

One of the performance areas measured by the system, Domain IV, is labeled “Postsecondary Readiness,” but it has real flaws in measuring this important criteria. Elementary school grades in this category are determined exclusively by the percentage of students whose absences exceed 10% of their enrollment period with no analysis of the reason.

A review of high schools that received an “A” in Domain IV offers perhaps the most troubling element of this report. Generally two types of schools make up this group. One is Early College or academy schools that select academically advanced students while reporting virtually no scores for students with disabilities. The second includes small, often K-12 schools, which have elective choices that are limited such to require students to take career and technical courses that meet this Postsecondary Readiness calculation.

“The result is that large comprehensive high schools, even those with tremendous track records of preparing students for college and career, are locked out of the ‘A’ category,” said Dr. Binggeli. “Telling a community that their high schools are not high quality because they serve all children and offer a robust curriculum fails every major rationale for an accountability system.”

About the A-F Preliminary Accountability Rating

In 2015, the 84th Texas Legislature passed HB 2804, changing the Texas school accountability system so that every campus and district receives one of five ratings from A-F. The law requires schools and districts to be assigned grades based on five different areas of performance or “domains.”

January 6, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released preliminary A-F ratings, experimentally applying the proposed rating format. These ratings are not official and the new rating system will be issued for the first time in August 2018. Per legislation, the TEA is issuing this preliminary work-in-progress report featuring possible grades to schools and districts for four of the five performance areas that the new system is designed to evaluate. Resources for the new rating system are provided on the TEA’s website.

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Resources provided at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) website

 

"Plano ISD wholeheartedly supports accountability and wants our community, parents and prospective parents to understand how our schools are performing. While we do not believe that the new A-F rating system accurately reflects a school's true performance, we will use the results to continue working on our campus improvement plans.”

- Missy Bender, Plano ISD School Board President