An important indicator of school and district quality is the state accountability rating, developed by the commissioner of education with support from staff at the Texas Education Agency (TEA). to the local school and district. For nearly two decades, schools and districts were labeled Exemplary, Recognized, Academically Acceptable, or Academically Unacceptable. In 2013, the Texas commissioner of education announced a new accountability system that assigns letter grades. The system is being developed further and will first be used in 2014.
The accountability rating system is based on results of standardized test scores, dropout rates, and high school completion rates. Ratings can change from year to year because they’re so closely tied to student performance; one good—or disappointing—round of results can nudge a school’s rating up or down.
You may have heavily researched your local schools when deciding where to live, or you may be looking into your schools’ ratings for the first time. Begin with the TEA Web Site to see where your local scores appeared in the 2013 ratings.
Because ratings can change from year to year depending on the performance of small groups of students, it's important to keep the proper perspective when looking at your child's school rating for the first time. Evaluate your local school's performance over time and consider factors such as your child's relationship with his or her teacher, how the campus and district leadership communicate with parents, and, of course, your own child's performance in the classroom.
TEA also releases annual School Report Cards that are provided to parents each December. These report cards are required by state law and cover these topics:
Don't want to wait until December? TEA's report cards for the previous year are always available on line.