- Texas has taken steps to develop a new strategic plan, oriented toward college and career readiness, with a new A-F accountability system to match. There is potential for this accountability system to form a clear foundation for the state’s work to improve student outcomes and close achievement gaps.
- Texas has adopted several indicators intended to focus on students’ readiness for college, career, and the military. By including science and social studies, the state is also signaling the importance of a well-rounded education for all students.
- Texas’ plan for supporting its lowest-performing schools establishes a range of comprehensive and innovative interventions, including a recognition of the role for root cause analysis and stakeholder engagement prior to selection of strategies.
- The plan should be commended for its focus on both school boards and district leadership as critical factors in the success of school turnaround.
- Texas should also be recognized for planning to distribute at least a portion of its 7 percent set-aside of Title I funds for school improvement using a competitive process to help maximize school operational flexibility and prioritize significant changes in school governance and operations.
- Texas’ plan is incomplete and lacks sufficient detail to review in key areas, such as the weighting of its indicators, the inclusion of subgroup performance, and methods for identifying schools in need of improvement.
- The plan also makes no reference to a provision in state law that permits districts and charter schools to add locally developed measures to school ratings, with state approval, and how that will weaken Texas’ ability to develop a single statewide accountability system. Such local modifications will undermine comparability across the state’s accountability system, as well as its validity and reliability.
- In addition, areas where the plan is more fully realized raise flags, especially in terms of equity and excellence. Notably, the state’s goal for 60 percent of adult Texans to have a postsecondary credential by 2030, is undercut by setting the bar for student proficiency below the standard required to be ready for college and career.
- Given the missing details about the state’s A-F grading system, it is impossible to know whether this issue will be offset by other decisions to emphasize student growth or performance at higher levels that are indicative of postsecondary readiness.
- While the plan proposes to use a higher minimum group size for individual subgroups than the all-students group, this choice results in a significant proportion of schools that will not be held accountable for critical groups of students, such as English learners and students with disabilities.
- The plan includes no consequences for schools missing the 95 percent participation requirement, a critical requirement to preserve the accountability system’s integrity and to ensure all students are represented equitably.
- The plan also does not appear to include a timeline to achieve language proficiency for English learners.