CISD: TEA scores not representative of school, students

By Lindsey Vaculin

General Manager


The Texas Education Agency released their work-in-progress school accountability ratings under the new A-F system on Friday and Cameron ISD’s ratings didn’t look so good.

Cameron ISD Superintendent Allan Sapp said these scores are not indicative of the district’s performance, saying that Cameron ISD actually met standard on all campuses last year. 

CISD received D ratings in Domain I - student achievement and Domain III - closing performance gaps and F ratings in Domain II - student progress and Domain IV - post-secondary readiness.

“These A-F grades are considered by TEA as ‘what if’ ratings,” Sapp said. “We will not make excuses for any low test scores from last year, but this paints an unfair picture of the students, staff and the community of Cameron.”

Sapp said CISD has great programs in place and everyone will continue to push for excellence in all areas. 

He said the ratings are based on data from the 2015-16 testing and other data from 2014-15.

The 84th Legislature passed House Bill 2804, changing the Texas school accountability system so that every campus and district receives one of five ratings from A-F. The ratings will be issued for the first time in August 2018.

The law requires the Texas Education Agency to present a preliminary work-in-progress report noting potential grades by domain to be issued to the legislature by Jan. 1, 2017. 

“It is important to note that the Met Standard/Improvement Required ratings issued in August 2016 and updated in November 2016 are the official academic accountability ratings for the 2015–16 school year,” Commissioner of Education Mike Morath said. “A similar process will be used for the 2016–17 school year.”

Morath said the ratings in this report are for informational purposes to meet a legislative requirement and represent work-in-progress models that are likely to change before A–F ratings become effective in August 2018. 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.”

Sapp said the district isn’t making any excuses for low test scores on STAAR and have been and will continue to work hard with all students in mastering TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills).

“In this A-F system, the letter grades given to our campuses do not match those given when compared against like schools,” he said. “This is very frustrating seeing letter grades such as these while knowing all the time and effort our staff and students have invested.”

Sapp cited a few examples such as on Domain 1 all CISD campuses finished in the top half of districts they were compared against, but were given a D grade. Another example of irregular scoring exists in Domain IV as the high school and the district were given an F, but the average of all indicators in this domain scored in the top half of comparable districts.

“We are realistic enough to know that one multiple-choice test given each year in certain subjects in not a true picture of the knowledge gained by students,” Sapp said. “At Cameron ISD, we are much better than the letter grades that were assigned based on a rubric which was designed after the tests were given.”

The report does not give an overall grade to a school district or specific campus. Instead, it gives four grades on the areas of student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps and post-secondary readiness. 

Domain I or student achievement is based on STAAR/EOC scores on tested students that scored satisfactory, postsecondary ready or advanced standard.

Domain II or student progress is measured by students meeting or exceeding the progress measure set forth by the state.

Domain III or closing performance gaps is based on scores attained by economically disadvantaged students at the same levels as those in Domain I.

Domain IV or post-secondary readiness uses data from 2014-15. The elementary level is judged by chronic absences. The junior high was scored by drop-out rate and chronic absences. The high school is evaluated using graduation rate, SAC/ACT scores, AP/DC course completion, CTE coherent sequence and military enlistment.

The following are the work-in-progress scores for other area districts in each Domain: Academy ISD - B/C/C/C; Rockdale ISD - C/C/D/A; Milano ISD - C/D/D/A; Gause ISD - C/C/D/A; Buckholts ISD - F/C/F/A; Rogers ISD - C/D/D/C; Thorndale ISD - C/B/D/D; Holland ISD - B/C/B/B; Lexington ISD - C/C/C/C; and Rosebud Lott ISD - F/D/D/D.