Dr. Karen Raney, TISD’s director of assessment and accountability, provided an update about the system to the TISD school board on Thursday.
Dr. Raney is one of 27 people on the state’s Accountability Technical Advisory Committee. That committee exists to develop and provide recommendations to the Texas commissioner of education for the state’s new accountability system.
Last year, Texas introduced a new standardized test called the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness. Performance on this test would be among a variety of factors considered under the proposed performance index framework, according to the information on the Texas Education Agency website.
Dr. Raney presented the current recommendations and said the state’s commissioner of education has the final say.
She said the state’s new testing system is the most rigorous state test to date with a heavy emphasis on college and career readiness.
She said student achievement would be graded on two levels. If the student achieves Level II, it means they are prepared for the next grade level or course but might still need some academic support in particular areas.
If a student achieves a Level III score, they are well prepared for the next grade level or course. And if they graduate from high school achieving this level of scores, they are ready for college coursework, she said.
She said the old accountability system focused on a campus or school district’s deficits, rating them for their lowest performing student group.
Under the recommendations, this system would measure campus or district performance in four categories contributing to one overall rating.
The recommended categories are: student achievement, student progress, closing performance gap and postsecondary readiness. The overall rating would be “meets standard” or “requires improvement,” under the recommendations.
Gary Mooring, TISD’s lone finalist for the superintendent position, said the state testing and accountability system is very fluid at this point.
With the legislative session starting next month, lawmakers could make decisions that affect it.
Mooring said a lot of groups have strong opinions about the system and are raising questions and concerns prior to the session.
Dr. Raney said the beauty of the proposed system is that the four performance categories can remain the same even if the Legislature changes certain requirements or aspects of the testing system.
In other business Thursday, the board heard from Tyler resident Bob Brewer who asked the district to discuss the possibility of allowing teachers who want to, and who have concealed handgun licenses, to carry on campus.
Brewer, who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, played an audio recording of U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, speaking on Fox News about how it could have made a difference if the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., had a firearm.
Twenty students and six others at Sandy Hook Elementary were killed by a gunman a week ago.
Brewer also mentioned Gov. Rick Perry’s comments about the issue at a recent Tea Party meeting.
“There are too many people who are too afraid of (educators with guns), and I’m afraid” not to have it, Brewer said of guns on campus.
Mooring said after the meeting that it would have to be a board decision to discuss the issue.