New A-F Rating

New A-F Rating
Posted on 01/05/2017
This is the image for the news article titled New A-F Rating

Connally ISD teachers, staff, and administration work diligently each day to provide the best instruction for every student in our district. We believe that STAAR is a one-day assessment that does not reflect the overall knowledge, ability, or growth of a student. Connally ISD assesses our students’ success and growth on many factors, not just one test score. As educators, we must evaluate the entire student. We value career and technology programs, dual-credit enrollment, advanced placement courses, student achievement in academic competition, fine arts programs, athletic programs, community service, character education and many other aspects of the entire education of students.

Beginning with the 2017–18 school year, the Texas Commissioner of Education will assign each public school district and campus with a rating in the form of an A–F letter grade to comply with House Bill 2804, passed by the 84th Texas Legislature in 2015. The argument used by TEA for the A-F ratings is it simplifies the overall explanation of the school district quality. We feel this statement could not be further from the truth. Connally ISD does not believe the A-F rating of the district is an accurate depiction of the district as a whole, nor is it any indication what takes place each day in our district.

Here is what is currently known about A–F rating systems:

  • A–F rating systems are based predominately on once-per-year standardized test scores;
  • A–F rating systems have not worked in other states;
  • To reduce the many measures of school and district performance to a single grade, A–F rating systems rely on pages upon pages of complicated rules and calculations;
  • A–F systems fail to account for varying socioeconomic conditions that influence performance;
  • Grades in an A–F system will align with wealth or poverty and punish those schools who have children living in poverty
  • A–F rating systems provide no sense of what schools must do to improve; and
  • A–F rating systems create false impressions about entire neighborhoods of children

(Source: A–F Talking Points 2017, Texas Association of School Administrators, TASA A-F Talking Points)

Ratings will be based on a bell-type curve where 10 percent of the schools/districts receive an A, 35 percent receive a B, 40 percent receive a C, 10 percent receive a D, and five percent receive an F. If ratings are based on this type of curve, how will schools and districts ever be able to improve when 15 percent must always fail? It is apparent there are definite flaws and inequities in the system the state is using to determine the A-F rating for districts and campuses. It makes it very difficult for districts and campuses to hit a moving target.

In the past few years, Connally ISD has improved from having several campuses rated “Improvement Required” to all campuses rated “Met Standard,” with some campuses receiving Academic Distinctions. Our district experienced 20+ gains in some of our student group scores on the STAAR test. We have also achieved larger gains than the state or region average in some areas. Unfortunately, the A-F rating does not equate to the existing state accountability “Met Standard” rating our district and campuses have earned.

Regardless of these ratings, Connally ISD students have achieved numerous awards in academic, fine arts, JROTC and athletic competitions for many years. Our Connally Career Tech Early College High School partnered with Texas State Technical College to offer students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an associate degree or up to 60 college hours including free college tuition, textbooks, and tools for their field of study. We have recently added a partnership with McLennan Community College which will expand course offerings and certifications that our students are able to graduate with.  We are partnering with AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) for college readiness with two secondary campuses as AVID certified sites and two elementary campuses that anticipate being certified by the end of the year.

In January 2017, the Texas Education Agency will release preliminary ratings based on 2016 data. It is important to remember, these are just sample ratings based on flawed data from the 2016 STAAR tests. The first official ratings are scheduled to be released August 15, 2018.

If you have questions on the complexity of the new A–F rating system, contact your elected officials. Ask them to explain the five domains and how ratings will be determined for each. Officials in McLennan County are Congressman Bill Flores, Senator Brian Birdwell, Representative Kyle Kacal, Representative Charles ‘Doc’ Anderson and Board of Education Member Ms. Sue Melton-Malone. Visit this link for their contact information: Contact your officials. 

We contend the overall academic program at Connally ISD has greatly improved over the years and will continue to improve. We are proud to say Connally ISD graduates are ready for college, ready for work, and ready for success.

Jan. 6, 2017

Statement of Commissioner Morath 
regarding public release of A-F work-in-progress report

AUSTIN – The 84th Legislature passed House Bill 2804, changing the Texas school accountability system so that every campus and district receives one of five ratings from A-F. The ratings will be issued for the first time in August 2018.

The law requires the Texas Education Agency to present a preliminary work-in-progress report noting potential grades by domain to be issued to the legislature by Jan. 1, 2017. That report, which was sent to legislative members last week, is now publicly available. Commissioner of Education Mike Morath issued the following statement regarding this report:

“It is important to note that the Met Standard/Improvement Required ratings issued in August 2016 and updated in November 2016 are the official academic accountability ratings for the 2015–16 school year. A similar process will be used for the 2016–17 school year. 

The ratings in this report are for informational purposes to meet a legislative requirement and represent work-in-progress models that are likely to change before A–F ratings become effective in August 2018. No inferences about official district or campus performance in the 2015–16 school year should be drawn from these ratings, and these ratings should not be considered predictors of future district or campus performance ratings.”

To learn more about the transition to a new accountability system and its implementation, visit the Texas Education Agency A-F Resources Page on the TEA website at