The Texas Education Agency released new accountability ratings for districts and campuses on August 15, 2018. For the first time ever, they gave districts a letter grade of A-F.
Giddings ISD received an overall rating of "B." Campuses were either rated Met Standard or Improvement Required. All of the GISD campuses received the "Met Standard" rating. In addition to these ratings, Giddings High School received seven distinctions and Giddings Middle School received four distinctions for areas in which they excelled.
The TEA Commissioner, Mike Morath, is promoting this new accountability system as a simple way to provide feedback to the public on how public schools are performing. On the surface, it would seem that the new system is very simple. However, we have yet to find anyone outside of the Texas Education Agency that completely understands the system. If you dig deeper into the data, you will see that Commissioner Morath has actually created a system that is very complicated because it is based on thousands of different data points. Most of these data points come from STAAR test data.
We would like to see our state move away from the overemphasis and over-reliance on STAAR test data because we know the success of our students is based on much more than a test they take on one or two days per year. Therefore, we are trying to keep the new accountability system in the proper context.
We have talked to hundreds of people in our district over the last two years and asked what they want from our local schools. We have not found a single person who said they want us to produce better test takers or place a greater emphasis on the STAAR tests. Our community wants our students to be well rounded. They want students to not only have the academic skills they need but to also have the leadership and interpersonal skills needed for success. These skills are not easily taught in a test-driven educational system. Therefore, with or without an accountability system or letter grade, we are going to continue to work to improve our schools while preparing students in our community for success in the 21st Century.