Texas Could Get A-Through-F School Grades - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Texas Could Get A-Through-F School Grades


DENISON, TX -- The Texas education commissioner says he plans to give all schools a letter grade next year, but that move has some school officials upset.

One superintendent tells us like the current rating, these grades would rely too much on results of standardized tests. So he wrote to state Sen. Craig Estes and other lawmakers, urging them to reject it.

The new plan to give schools grades just like students get in class is not winning support from the schools superintendent in Denison.

"You could have a straight 90 across the board with all of your students, and then be rated very low based upon one sub-group, African-American, Hispanic, or disadvantaged," says superintendent Dr. Henry Scott.

Scott says recently, a math score for the overall student population was 91, but a sub-group scored around 70. He says that brings to school only to "academically acceptable" under the current system. Under letter grades, Scott is worried they would get a C.

"It's based primarily on one set of tests, not a volume of work over the entire year," says Scott.

"I wouldn't want my kid to go to a failing school, I would want them to go to a passing school with an A grade or a B grade, not a D," says resident Racheal Dodson.

Bills discussing the new grading system have been filed in the Texas legislature, but now the state education commissioner Michael Williams says he believes he has the authority to implement the new system on his own, and he plans to do just that.

"You'd have a comparison so you could see how the school rates compared to all the other school districts and schools in the area," says resident Garrison Dorsey.

Oklahoma just put a similar system into effect but after only one set of grades, some changes are already being made. Texas has used academically unacceptable, acceptable, recognized, and exemplary, but the Texas Education Agency is not putting those names out this year, as schools transition from TAKS to STAAR tests.    

"I think that people are used to the rating system we have presently," says Scott.

In 2011, Denison, Sherman, Bonham and Gainesville rated "academically acceptable" while several smaller districts were higher at "recognized." Meantime, under a new bill going through the legislature, those ratings would not be issued for a second year.