TEA (Texas Education Agency) released its school ratings for the year, and there was some surprises for the area.
The biggest surprise was Abilene ISD's rating of "unacceptable." Abilene was one of just 30 schools in the state to receive the lowest rating, and the only one in the Big Country. This means they dropped by one rating, earning an "academically acceptable" rating last year.
AISD Superintendent Heath Burns says what caused the district to barely miss the mark was the number of Hispanic students that dropped out. As part of the complicated formula to determine a district's rating, each subgroup of students has to have a 75 percent high school completion rate. Abilene's Hispanic completion rate this year was 74.1 percent.
Burns stated in a letter printed in the the Abilene Reporter-News, "We must better ensure the success of all of our students, regardless of their ethnicity or economic status." He also stressed that sometimes one small portion of the formula for the rating could give an otherwise good school district. Read his entire letter at www.reporternews.com/news/2010/jul/30/burns-open-letter-about-aisd-rating/.
Nolan County schools all received favorable ratings. Sweetwater, Roscoe and Blackwell all earned "recognized" ratings while Highland received an "exemplary" rating, which is the highest.
The number of exemplary schools was another surprise. There were 12 in the Big Country this year, compared to just four last year. Wylie ISD also earned an "exemplary" rating again.
Other exemplary school districts in the area:
Colorado ISD earned a "recognized" rating, as did Barid, Clyde, Eastland, Eula, Merkel, Roby, Snyder, Stamford, Haskell, Hamiln, Trent, Westbrook and others.
One other school to note is Albany High School, which received an "unacceptable" rating due to a teacher tampering with TAKS tests.
Log onto the TEA website where you can pick the year and then pull up lists of schools based on county, region and other parameters. You can also pull up a list by rating or pull up a single district's ratings.
There was a statewide trend of improvements on ratings. Some of those improvements this year can be attributed to the Texas Projection Measure (TPM), which factors in a prediction of a student’s future performance on the state’s standardized test.