McKinney ISD first day of school

McKinney ISD Superintendent Rick McDaniel high fives Boyd High School students as they head into school on the first day of classes last Thursday.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) last week released its accountability ratings for school districts and campuses across the state. McKinney ISD received a B with 89 out of 100. Last year, MISD received a 90 for an A rating.

The TEA rates districts based on student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps. McKinney ISD received a score of 89 in all three categories.

Geoff Sanderson, chief program evaluation officer, said district officials were encouraged by this year’s results. 

“We saw gains across the district and across our campuses,” he said.

Of McKinney’s 32 schools, 16 got As, six received Bs, while six others got Cs and one received a D with a 67 score.

Sanderson said the TEA gives districts with campuses below the state standard a score no higher than 89.

“Unfortunately, that changes the overall letter grade for us this year. We knew going into it from our preliminary analysis was that we actually scored higher this year,” he said. “So our actual score was a 93, but because of those rules that are built into the state system, we ended up earning an 89.”

Student achievement is calculated by weighing STAAR test performance, college, career and military readiness and graduation rate.

School progress takes into account academic growth, or the percentage of students who grew academically, and relative performance, which compares the student achievement percentage with the percentage of economically disadvantaged students.

Closing the gaps weighs grade level performance, graduation rate, English language proficiency and college, career and military readiness.

The high schools are rated the same way. Middle and elementary schools have most, but not all, of the same categories.

Sanderson said among the more encouraging numbers is the closing the gaps component score, which was 97 but was capped at a scaled score of 89. 

“(Closing the gaps) looks at individual student groups, specifically those that have historically underperformed and are the ones that we spend time trying to accelerate their performance,” he said. “That score would suggest that the overwhelming majority of our students are hitting their specific targets that the state has set.”

Many school officials around the state have been critical of the system’s reliance on the STAAR assessment test. 

“We recognize that there is a need at the state level to assess student performance in school districts,” MISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel said. “However, I do not believe that the current A-F system provides a broad enough evaluation of student progress and success. We can certainly use this as a measure, but we also use our own performance indicators that we feel provide a more accurate assessment of our students’ achievement levels. I am proud of the hard work that our teachers, staff and students performed this past year.”

Mike Morath, commissioner of education, defended the TEA’s rating system, described by many as a “snapshot in time.”

“It is not just about performance on standardized tests,” he said. “It is a balanced indicator system that includes recognition of graduation rates, AP exams, industry credentials and SAT scores.”

To see all district scores, visit txschools.gov/districts.

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