Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees unanimously votes on resolution to repeal A-F grading system

Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees unanimously votes on resolution to repeal A-F grading system
Posted on 01/25/2017
This is the image for the news article titled Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees unanimously votes on resolution to repeal A-F grading system

The Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously today on a resolution that will call on the Texas Legislature to repeal the newly adopted A-F accountability rating system. The district has joined over 300 school districts across Texas that have also passed such resolutions.

The new A-F school rating system, passed by the State Legislature in 2015, as part of House Bill 2804, is heavily based on the State’s standardized test, STAAR, and set to go into effect during the 2017-18 school year.

Through the resolution, Pasadena ISD trustees have asked lawmakers to develop a community-based accountability system that would allow school districts to design their own systems of assessment, empowering them to customize the curriculum and instruction to meet the needs of their students.

While 16 states have adopted similar letter grade rating systems, “there is no definitive research that suggests these rating have improved student or school performance,” the resolution states.

The new grading system requires the Texas Education Agency to assign letter grades for schools and districts based on overall performance, along with five domains and indicators to determine a single grade. Letters A through C are considered passing, while letters D and F are not.

The five performance Domains (indicators) measure:

  • student achievement on all subjects on state assessments;
  • student progress;
  • how well campuses and school district close performances gaps between low-income and high-income students;
  • graduation rates, post-secondary and career readiness;
  • and community engagement.

According to the resolution, the Texas Education Agency’s proposed rating system “creates a false impression about students, ignores the unique strengths of each school and unfairly reduces each student’s worth to the school’s assigned grade.”

The resolution states that 55 percent of the A through F grades are based on STAAR testing, and fails to take into account school districts with a high percentage of low-income students. In Pasadena ISD, for instance, 80 percent of students are considered low-income.

“The A through F grading system is not an accurate representation of the school district and our talented students, many of whom come from diverse backgrounds,” Dr. DeeAnn Powell, PISD school superintendent said. “Our ultimate goal as educators is to equip students with the knowledge and skills to reach their highest potential and become productive members of society. The grading system pulls focus from these goals and puts pressure on students and staff to achieve high scores on standardized tests, preventing students from reaching their full potential.”