The Texas Education Agency announced this week that it was releasing “what if” ratings to districts, using its new adopted accountability system methodology but based on 2021-22 ratings, to give school leaders a preview of academic performance in anticipation of the release of the official 2023 accountability ratings. The release of “what if” ratings is a common practice by TEA, especially when rating methodology changes.
Under the 2022 “what if” ratings, TEA reports 15% of campuses statewide would have a decrease in ratings using the new accountability system methodology, and 14% would have an increase in ratings. The other 71% would keep the same rating. (Click here for TEA's full "what if" summary.)
But when looking at the breakdown of campuses, high school campus ratings would significantly decrease under the new methodology, with 47% receiving lower ratings under the new methodology. Only 7% and 6% of elementary and middle school ratings, respectively, would decrease; and 19% and 10%, respectively, would increase.
Among the changes made by TEA for the new A-F system methodology was to raise the cut score for the college/career/military readiness (CCMR) indicator for high schools from 60% to 88%. TEA justified this change by pointing to the fact that the performance of high schools on the CCMR indicator had greatly increased since the original cut score was set, with high schools now performing at an average of 65%, and accordingly, the cut score needed to be recalibrated higher.
However, in addition to raising the CCMR cut score, TEA is also requiring that the higher cut score be applied to 2022 graduates. This change caused a great deal of concern among districts, a number of whom joined efforts in filing a lawsuit against TEA to prohibit TEA from using the new methodology to evaluate schools for the 2022-23 school year. The lawsuit by the districts asserts that TEA did not give adequate notice about these changes to the accountability system.
A Travis County judge blocked TEA from releasing ratings in late October. TEA appealed the decision and said the issuance of A-F ratings was pending and subject to change based on judicial rulings or decisions from the 88th Legislature during a special called session.