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Texas School Ratings Drop With Change in Formula

Education Commisioner Robert Scott gave Texas schools their ratings today.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News
Education Commisioner Robert Scott gave Texas schools their ratings today.

The number of schools considered “academically unacceptable” by the stateskyrocketed from 104 in 2010 to 569 this year. It was largely because the Texas Education Agency stopped using the Texas Projection Measure, a formula that gave credit to failing schools if they were mathematically predicted to pass in the future.

Commissioner Robert Scott says that’s still only 7 percent of all public schools in Texas.

“The system is designed to make campuses focus on their weaknesses and cause improvement,” Scott said. “One year academically unacceptable, most of those campuses will come off that list in a year.”

Similarly, the number of academically unacceptable districts rose from 37 last year to 88 in 2011. Districts rated “exemplary”, the highest rating, declined from 241 to 61.

In Austin, the number of academically unacceptable schools also grew. Last year there was one. This year, there were eight. Those eight were LBJ High School, Eastside Memorial Global Tech High School, Lamar Middle School, Burnet Middle School, Pearce Middle School, Bedichek Middle School, Garcia Middle School, and Mendez Middle School.

Commissioner Scott says none of those schools will be sanctioned with closure.

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen says it’s important for parents to look at the data for themselves.

“LBJ for example is one subject area, one student group, 10 kids away from being academically acceptable,” Carstarphen said.

But if you lump all students together, AISD did show small gains in reading, writing, science and math, while social studies was unchanged.

Here’s how to compare your school’s performance to last year:

  • Go to Austin ISD’s campus listing on TEA’s website. (Other school districts be found here.)
  • Find your campus. Click on it. It will open a PDF file.
  • Find the two groupings of columns for 2010 and 2011
  • Compare “Pct Met Std” from 2010 to 2011. That is the percentage of students who met the state required minimum score to pass on that test. A third column, “Act Change”, under the “Required Improvement” grouping, shows you the difference between 2010 and 2011.
  • A positive number under “Act Change” signifies improvement. A negative number shows a decline.

You can find more information on how to read TEA data using their Accountability Manual.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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