Texas education officials finalize federal achievement plan

Texas education officials have submitted their plan for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal law passed in 2015 that gives states more authority to set accountability standards.

The Texas proposal largely aligns with already-established procedures and state laws, including the “A-through-F” grading scale and accountability standards set by state legislators in the past three years. 

The Every Student Succeeds Act rolls back some federal oversight put in place by No Child Left Behind, which Congress and then-president George W. Bush enacted in the early 2000s. Each state is required to submit a plan laying out its academic-achievement accountability system, procedures for improving low-performing schools and goals for graduation rates, among dozens of tasks.

Texas officials set a target for raising the state’s four-year graduation rate from 89 percent in 2015 to 94 percent by 2027.

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In addition, officials are aiming for 90 percent of students to “approach grade level” — the state’s equivalent of passing — on Texas’ standardized reading and math tests by 2027. About 72 percent of students “approached grade level” on the reading test and 79 percent “approached grade level” on the math test in 2016-17.

The state’s new “A-through-F” accountability system, established by state legislators in 2015 and tweaked in 2017, is expected to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Rather than receiving scores of “meets standard” or “improvement required,” districts will receive an annual letter grade starting in 2018 and campuses will get a letter grade starting in 2019. The grade will be determined by three factors: student achievement, school progress, and closing performance gaps.

The U.S. Department of Education has up to 120 days to review Texas’ plan, which can be read here.

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