Leander ISD gets their letter grades from state

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Leander ISD’s accountability scores were a little more colorful than many anticipated. Leander ISD earned a B, an A, a D and a C respectively in the following four categories:

Domain I - Student Achievement: How students perform on the STAAR.

Domain II - Student progress: How students improve on the STAAR year to year.

Domain III - Closing performance gaps: How effective campuses and school districts are closing performance gaps between low- and higher-income students. 

Domain IV - Postsecondary readiness: How prepared students are for careers and college after high school. For elementary school students, this category is based on how many of their students are recurrently absent. Middle school students were graded based on drop out rates.

School districts across the state pulled in less than stellar grades under the state’s new letter-grade accountability system. Throughout Central Texas, districts including Leander, Austin, Bastrop, Dripping Springs, Elgin, Georgetown, Hays, Hutto, Manor and San Marcos received unacceptable grades of D’s and F’s in certain categories.

These are preliminary grades intended to give school districts a look into how the new system will work when it is finalized next year and Leander ISD’s August accountability ratings of Met Standard still stands.

“Both the district overall rating, and all LISD schools, received the Met Standard rating for the official 2016 state accountability system, and we will continue to stay laser-focused on making improvements that help students reach their fullest potential in all areas of learning and growth,” Leander ISD Asst. Superintendent of Community and Government Relations, Veronica Sopher, said.

The new A-F letter grading system has a strong emphasis on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) performance. Under this A-F accountability system, student performance on the STAAR comprises more than half of the school districts’ and campus’ overall ratings.

“These new A-F ratings are just a symptom of the larger sickness: an unhealthy fixation on standardized testing and standardized expectations,” Texas Association of School Boards Executive Director James B. Crow said. “There are 1,028 school districts in Texas, and no two are exactly the same. Trying to apply the same accountability measures primarily based on one standardized test is a disservice to our kids, their families, and our educators.”

Although this updated does not go into effect until August 2018, these preliminary ratings give the community and the schools insight into what the ratings will portray. In the future schools and districts will receive a single letter grade, but the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released four letter grades, each in a different category, this time around.

“No inferences about official district or campus performance in the 2015-16 school year should be drawn from these ratings, and these ratings should not be considered predictors of future district or campus performance ratings,” TEA Commissioner of Education Mike Morath said in a statement.

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