The Texas Education Agency released 2018 accountability ratings on August 15, the first under the new A-F system that includes three domains – student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps.
Individual campuses receive ratings of either Met Standard or Improvement Required and have the ability to earn distinction designations. According to the TEA, 69 of the 73 AISD campuses that are eligible for ratings are rated as Met Standard, including all secondary campuses. All campus levels can earn distinctions for reading/ELA, science, math, top 25 percent student progress, top 25 percent closing performance gaps and post-secondary readiness. Both junior high schools and high schools can also earn a distinction designation in social studies. Twenty-nine of the district’s 71 campuses eligible to receive distinctions received at least one designation:
• 6 of 7 high schools
• 5 of 10 junior highs
• 18 of 54 elementaries
Gunn Junior High (seven out of seven) and Ditto Elementary (six out of six) received all possible distinction designations.
When looking at last year’s results under the new A-F domain system, this year’s scores in every domain are equal to or better than last year. In fact, there is a 10-point increase in Domain 3, related to closing the achievement gap. Thirty-eight percent of campuses used Domain 2B in their formula, which shows that our campuses are competitive with similar schools throughout the state.
“I am proud of the success of so many of our campuses and the work of our students, teachers and staff,” Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos said. “In the Arlington ISD, we work to close performance gaps and to create opportunities for our students to be prepared for college, career or the military, and I don’t believe an oversimplified A-F label will ever be able to capture the true essence of teaching and learning.
“Giving a single grade to a campus or district – especially one that is only based on standardized test scores as is the case in elementary and junior high schools – does not account for the multitude of successes students have over an entire school year,” Cavazos continued. “We will use these results as one piece of data to inform our improvement efforts across the district as we remain focused on providing exceptional opportunities for our students.”
Under the A-F system, the Arlington ISD received an overall score of 78, or C, just two points shy of a B grade at 78. The two campuses that were previously rated as Improvement Required, Peach and Wimbish elementaries, met standard this year. Anderson, Patrick, Short and Speer elementaries are rated Year 1 Improvement Required.
The Arlington ISD will pursue an appeal not only for individual campuses but also for the district as we continue to review the data from this untested A-F system. There were rule changes applied to results as late as last week. In addition, a large portion of the results at the high school level were from 2017 graduates who completed school over a year ago, before the A-F statute was even signed into law. Furthermore, 992 tests were not included due to ETS test administration issues, with 157 of those being passing tests. These factors impact the overall rating assigned to districts.
It is important to take a comprehensive look at student achievement, and the Arlington ISD offers well-rounded educational opportunities such as: strings programs at all elementary campuses with more than 75 percent of the student population participating in fine arts classes throughout the district; dual credit, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses for students; and innovative and relevant career and technical education classes and internships that 75 percent of our secondary students participate in – all things that are not measured by STAAR or A-F ratings.