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November 22, 2017

Fort Bend ISD Calls for Repeal of new Accountability System


At its regularly scheduled board meeting on December 12, 2016, the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees voted on a resolution calling for Texas Legislative officials to repeal the A-F accountability system set to go into effect in 2018. Fort Bend ISD is one of several Texas school districts calling for a repeal of the new system.

Texas’ current state accountability system rates schools, districts, and campuses as either ‘Met Standard’, ‘Met Alternative Standard’, or ‘Improvement Required’ based on scores in four indexes; standardized test scores, student performance, the closing of achievement gaps, and student readiness for higher education.

Under the new system, each school, campus, and district will receive an A-F letter grade for each of five domains as well as one overall letter grade. Domains 1-3 will focus on STAAR testing and end of course grades, domain 4 will focus on student readiness for post-secondary education, and domain 5 will be up to each school and district to choose

Provisional scores using the new accountability system will be given, based on data from the 2015-16 school year, first to school districts on January 4, 2017; and then posted for the public on the Texas Education Agency’s website on January 6, 2017. The first formal batch of scores will be issued in the summer of 2018 for the 2017-18 school year.

Fort Bend ISD Board Members are arguing that the new system focuses too heavily on STAAR testing in spite of repeatedly raised concerns that the current system already hinges too much upon standardized test scores. In a press release posted by Fort Bend ISD on December 15, 2016, FBISD board president Kristin K. Tassen maintained that scores given under the new system rely about 55% on standardized test scores.

The resolution states that though A-F style accountability ratings are in effect in 16 other U.S. states, there is no data affirming that the system improves campus, school, district, or student performance.

Within the resolution is a potential alternative state accountability system; “a 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.”

The next State of Texas Legislative session, when the resolution can be brought before state lawmakers,  begins on January 10, 2017.

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