DSISD gives an ‘F’ to state’s new rating system

The Dripping Springs ISD Board of Trustees Monday unanimously approved a resolution opposing the A-F accountability rating system for Texas public schools, according to a press release.

In doing so, DSISD joins other districts across Texas calling for repeal of that system, which will be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year as part of House Bill 2804, passed by the Legislature in 2015.

According to the district’s resolution, despite the A-F rating systems being implemented in 16 other states, there is no evidence that these systems have helped to improve student or school performance.

The majority of grades assigned by the rating system will be based on students’ scores on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test, which is a test viewed as “unreliable for accurately measuring student learning,” according to the release.

The release added a majority of Texans recently surveyed by the State Board of Education said they don’t want standardized test scores to serve as the primary basis for Texas’ school accountability system.

“Dripping Springs ISD will likely be an “A” district under the A-F accountability system,” said Superintendent Bruce Gearing. “However, we will not celebrate this designation because the system that assigns the grade is fundamentally flawed. Districts should be allowed to exercise local control and develop Community-Based Accountability Systems that take multiple measures of student learning and success into account.”

Dripping Springs’ resolution also cited several flaws in the new system. Issues extend to requiring a complex set of rules and calculations to combine a “multitude of disparate measures into a single, “simple” letter grade that cannot be supported with explanation, are useless for providing feedback that could be used for improvement, and usually align with the wealth or poverty of the students in the school.”

Solutions outlined in the resolution include community-based accountability system that “empowers districts to design their own systems of assessment and accountability that, while meeting general state standards, allows innovation and customization to match the needs and interests of the local community.”

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