August 23, 2018 500 AM
Grades were released last week for a controversial grading system that ranks Texas schools by letters A-F.
The grades were decided by seeing a district through three categories: student achievement, school progress, and closing the gap. The districts receive a letter grade for each category to reflect how well their students perform on state standardized tests, and whether they are ready for college and career (student achievement; how much students are improving on state tests (school progress); and how well schools are boosting scores for subgroups such as students with special needs and English language learners (closing the gap).
The rating system’s heavy reliance on state test scores as a measure of student performance has angered educators, who want less overall emphasis on those tests.
Superintendent Ray Vasquez for Presidio ISD is thrilled by the letter grade they received from the state. The school received a B, and numerically received an 87. The school district has to improve its reading and literacy, according to Vasquez.
Marfa ISD received a 79 but did not officially receive a letter grade because it is a one-campus district. The district needs to improve in the subjects of mathematics, science, and social studies. Marfa ISD superintendent, Oscar Aguero, cites the lack of consistency in these subjects as a reason for their low scores. “We want a strong STEM program, that is why we will focus on math for the next two years,” said Aguero.
When Aguero assumed the position of superintendent, he made reading a priority, as a result the school earned a distinction in reading, making it one of the top 25 Percent of Texas schools in the subject of reading. He hopes to replicate this same method to each subject that needs improvement.