HISD meets state accountability standard for 2017-2018

Under new accountability rating system, the number of schools with “Improvement Required” rating
declines to lowest number since 2012

Although the Houston Independent School District received a “Not Rated” label for meeting the state’s criteria to qualify for the Hurricane Harvey waiver, the district was calculated to have earned an overall B rating under Texas’ new school accountability system, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced Wednesday.

According to the ratings released today by TEA, 91 percent of HISD schools (251 out of 275 rated campuses) earned a “Met Standard” rating for the 2017-2018 school year.

“I’m elated about the progress we’ve made,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “It shows that the allocation of additional resources for critical staffing, student supports, and wraparound services encompassed by Achieve 180 is working. Though we are excited about the news we’ve received today, we know we still have work to do.”

In just three years, HISD has reduced the number of campuses labeled “Improvement Required” (IR) by the state from 58 to 7. These 7 are first-year “IR” campuses, meaning this will be the first year they are labeled “IR.” An additional 17 schools were “Not Rated” due to meeting the state’s criteria for the Hurricane Harvey waiver. Fifteen of these 17 campuses will remain on “IR” status from the prior year, requiring them to comply with state and federal improvement planning. This is the lowest number of campuses HISD has had in “IR” status since 2012.

Six of the district’s most underserved schools – known as Superintendent’s Schools – that for years had been on “IR” status earned a rating of “Met Standard.” Those campuses are Woodson PK-8, Blackshear, Dogan, Mading and Wesley elementary schools, and Worthing Early College.

The four other Superintendent’s Schools, Highland Heights Elementary School, Henry Middle School, and Kashmere and Wheatley high schools, are among the 17 “Not Rated” campuses for meeting the Hurricane Harvey Provision criteria.

Additionally, 27 other Achieve 180 schools – underserved and underperforming campuses in the district – also received a “Met Standard” rating.

Of the 243 HISD schools that are eligible for distinction designations, 152 campuses earned at least one distinction designation for outstanding achievement in English/reading, math, science, or social studies; outstanding academic growth; outstanding performance in closing student achievement gaps; or, outstanding academic performance in attainment of postsecondary readiness. Nineteen campuses received all possible distinction designations for their academic level.

For the first time under House Bill (HB) 22, HISD and other school districts received a letter grade under the new A-F rating system for the 2017-2018 school year. Districts that earn an A, B, C or D rating will have met the state’s academic standards, while those earning an F rating have not.

Ratings are primarily based on elementary and middle school students’ performance on the state’s STAAR tests. For high schools, the ratings also consider graduation rates, and college, career and military readiness. Individual schools still earned a rating of “Met Standard” or “Improvement Required” this year. They will receive an A–through-F rating for the first time in August 2019.

This is the first year that Texas has rated school districts using the new accountability system, which considers the following factors (also known as “domains”) for measuring the academic performance of districts and campuses:

  • Student Achievement – measures how well students performed on the STAAR and how well high school students also performed on college, career and military readiness measures and their graduation rates.
  • School Progress (Academic Growth and Relative Performance) – broken down into two subcategories that measure how many students improved on the STAAR compared with the previous year, as well as how well campuses and districts performed compared to other campuses and districts with similar percentages of low-income students.
  • Closing Performance Gaps – measures how well students performed based on their race, income level, disability and other factors that might affect learning.

If not for a new provision introduced into the TEA’s final 2018 Accountability Manual, HISD would have two fewer “IR” campuses, and two fewer campuses labeled “Not Rated” under the Hurricane Harvey Provision.

Introduced into the manual in late July, the provision states that “if a campus receives an Improvement Required rating in three of the four domain calculations (Student Achievement, Academic Growth, Relative Performance, Closing the Gaps), the highest scaled score a campus can receive for the overall rating is a 59.” This indicates that the highest that Kandy Stripe Academy Elementary School and Sugar Grove Middle School could earn is a 59, meaning “IR” status. This also caused Reagan K-8 Educational Center and Attucks Middle School to receive a “Not Rated” instead of a “Met Standard” label as a result of the Hurricane Harvey Provision.

For purposes of counting consecutive years of ratings, 2017 and 2019 will be considered consecutive for school districts and campuses receiving a “Not Rated” label in 2018 due to the hurricane provision. Districts can appeal any accountability-related decision, including the issuance of waivers.

Appeals would likely be decided in late 2018.