Topic: Grading

Why A-F Ratings for Schools Do Not Make the Grade

The issuance of A-F ratings for Texas schools this week was greeted with a torrent of criticism from educators. Even though the ratings were incomplete, based on last year’s data, and did not count for purposes of state accountability sanctions, the criticism was fully justified. Our counterparts at the Texas Association of School Administrators have published a timely article by...

Read More

Hazard Warning: Local “Innovation Plans” Can Nullify Employee and Student Safeguards in State Law

One of the most hazardous pieces of legislation enacted by Texas lawmakers last year bears a harmless-sounding name. We refer to the law authorizing school districts to declare themselves “districts of innovation” and thereby to exempt themselves from many important safeguards of educational quality and employee, student, and parental rights in the Texas Education Code. Some of the core state...

Read More

Good News from Federal Survey on Texas Graduation Rates

At a time of seemingly nonstop bashing of Texas public education by ideologues and privatizers, we are pleased to interrupt all the negativity with some genuinely good news. That news is that Texas high-school graduation rates, as reported on the latest federal state-by-state comparison using a uniform method of calculating four-year graduation rates, are among the best in the nation....

Read More

New Pre-Filed Legislation: Banning Grade Inflation

State Sen. Jane Nelson, Republican of Flower Mound, has pre-filed SB 132 to clarify a law she passed in 2009 barring districts from forcing teachers to give minimum grades regardless of students’ academic work. Her new bill reaffirms that the prohibition applies to cumulative grades, not just grades on individual assignments. In a lawsuit in 2010, Texas AFT successfully defended...

Read More

Furor Over Testing Excesses Shows No Letup

Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott has kept the pot boiling this week on the issue of standardized testing and its excesses. Echoing remarks he made last week at the State Board of Education, the commissioner yesterday told a gathering of superintendents in Austin that the current testing system is a “perversion” of the original ideas behind the state’s accountability...

Read More

State Board of Education Notes—Testing, Testing

The State Board of Education meetings in Austin last week featured a noteworthy discussion relating to the new testing regime for state accountability, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR).  Board member Thomas Ratliff, Republican of Mount Pleasant, aired a proposal to restore some local control over the weight given in grading to state-mandated end-of-course exams, which are...

Read More

STAAR Testing Regime Begins to Replace TAKS—Questions and Answers from TEA

Despite making deep cuts in state funding for public education, totaling more than $5.4 billion over the next two years (or more than $500 per pupil), the folks in the driver’s seat at the state capitol adamantly insisted on pressing forward with a “new, improved” system of standardized testing. The aim of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness...

Read More

As School Year Starts, Teachers’ Grading Authority Bolstered

In May 2009 the Texas legislature passed a truth-in-grading law designed to strengthen teachers' grading authority by prohibiting district policies that required teachers to give students unearned "minimum grades." In June 2010, a state district judge in Austin rejected a court challenge to the law, agreed with Texas AFT, and told school districts the law unambiguously prohibits awarding unearned cumulative...

Read More