Changes from TEA contribute to drop in school ratings

July 29, 2011 at 2:29 a.m.

The Texas Education Agency releases its yearly ratings based on several factors that differ from year to year, which can help explain the statewide slip in ratings.

Besides TAKS scores, the TEA factors in progress, attendance rates, dropout rates and completion of advanced courses.

Comparing last year's ratings with this year's ratings is not necessarily a fair representation of how well students performed. Several districts in the Crossroads area may have seen steady TAKS scores, but a drop in their ratings.

For example, last year, schools were allowed to factor in a measure that raised test scores based on the potential improvement of students. That boost, the Texas Projection Measure, was not included in this year's scores.

Special education students and those learning English were included in the 2011 accountability system, whereas those students' scores did not count toward a district's rating in the past.

Finally, the TEA raised the bar when it came to math and science. Last year, 55 percent of students had to pass the science test for the campus to be considered academically acceptable. This year, 60 percent of students had to pass.

Math standards also raised from 60 percent to 65 percent.

Most districts in Texas fell into the acceptable category this year, while last year, the the greatest number of districts were in the recognized category. The number of unacceptable districts more than doubled this year.



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