BISD Staff and Families,
On Friday, Jan. 6, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) will release provisional A–F ratings for districts and campuses based on data from the 2015–16 school year as required by HB 2804 passed by the Texas Legislature in 2015.
While Birdville ISD believes that schools and districts should be held accountable for providing the highest quality education for students, we encourage parents and community members to use caution when interpreting these provisional A–F ratings for the following reasons:
- Birdville ISD and all BISD campuses received the highest rating (Met Standard) on the current accountability system. We are proud of our students and teachers for their performance in those areas.
- The A-F rating system is still a work in progress. The TEA will make several changes to the system before the first official ratings are released in August 2018. The current ratings are based on incomplete data from the 2015–16 school year and do not include several components that will be included in the ratings in 2018.
Although an A–F grading system seems simple and understandable to most people, the calculations needed to determine each letter grade are extremely complicated and lack transparency. In fact, TEA did not release information to districts on exactly how the calculations were to be made until December 16, 2016. Therefore, it is recommended that parents and community members keep in mind the work-in-progress nature of the A–F rating system.
- TEA has limited the number of schools and districts that may be rated as A or B. According to this system, the most common rating across the state is a C. Thus, these provisional ratings reflect performance as compared to all other schools, rather than whether or not schools have met certain predetermined standards.
- Ratings for Domains I, II, and III are based entirely on STAAR results. No school’s performance can accurately be reduced to a letter grade based on one test, given on one day. Several problems with administration of STAAR across the state in 2015–2016 have raised questions about the accuracy of scores and validity of test results.
- Ratings for Domain IV for elementary schools are based entirely on the percentage of students who are absent more than 10 percent of the time. Attendance at small schools may be negatively impacted by only a few students who do not attend regularly. For example, the rating for a school of 300 students may drop from a C to an F if only three additional students are chronically absent (i.e., the number of chronically absent students increases from 22 to 25). Because elementary students usually depend on family members to get to school each day, our schools are being rated on a factor that may be beyond their control.
Regardless of the new labeling system, we have high standards in Birdville ISD. The new system will inform us, but it will not define us. Plans are already in place that continue to make us an innovative district that is responsive to the needs of our students. In addition, it is important for us to continue to tell our story of excellence every chance we get.