FISD Urges State to Re-Evaluate Accountability System

Written by Korinna Kirchhoff

The 88th Legislative Session is in full swing and Frisco ISD is urging TEA to pause its accountability refresh and allow the legislature to examine the current Accountability System.

The District wrote a joint letter co-signed by 250 school districts and education organizations from across the state that collectively educate more than 2.7 million students. The joint letter asks the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to pause its planned refresh of the A-F Accountability system so that the legislature can re-evaluate the accountability system holistically.


School districts are evaluated each school year with an A-F rating. Frisco ISD is the largest school district in North Texas to earn an ‘A’ rating. The letter-grade accountability system evaluates performance according to three domains: Student Achievement, School Progress and Closing the Gaps.

  • Student Achievement evaluates performance across all subjects for all students on both general and alternate assessments, College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR) indicators and graduation rates.

  • School Progress measures district and campus outcomes in two areas: 

    • the number of students that grew at least one year academically (or are on track) as measured by STAAR results

    • the achievement of all students relative to districts or campuses with similar economically disadvantaged percentages

  • Closing the Gaps uses disaggregated data to demonstrate differentials among racial/ethnic groups, socioeconomic backgrounds and other factors. 

The Problem

As it stands, the upcoming 2023 A-F ratings will be based on student standardized test scores from the spring of 2023 when students will be faced with a fully online and redesigned STAAR exam that has never been implemented across the state before.  

In addition, TEA has proposed to raise the cut score necessary for a high school to receive an “A” in the CCMR domain by nearly 47% in one year. TEA plans to raise the cut score because too many schools received an A rating for CCMR.

Dramatically increasing the cut score in a single year will create the misconception that high-performing schools are drastically declining, even if their CCMR performance actually increased. 

Of note, Districts would be critiqued retroactively on CCMR data for students who graduated in 2022 while clearly no longer having any influence over the performance of those students.

A Potential Solution

The legislature is currently in session, and House Bill 977 would create an Assessment and Accountability Commission to review the current system and make recommendations regarding improvements to how the state measures success and communicates school performance to parents. 

The legislature has used the commission model successfully to address complex issues over the past few sessions and should apply this same model to the A-F Accountability System.

  • “Moving forward with the planned refresh is irresponsible as it will cause significant confusion among the community, put increased pressure on teachers and other staff who are already at their breaking point, and wrest the policy decisions of how we should hold our schools accountable away from the elected representatives of the people leaving them in the hands of unelected bureaucrats,” Frisco ISD wrote in the letter that was sent March 6 to Governor Gregg Abbott, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath, Senate Education Committee Chairman Brandon Creighton and House Public Education Committee Chairman Brad Buckley.

Frisco ISD Re-envisions Campus Accountability

Although Frisco ISD is an ‘A’ rated district and all campuses have a ‘B’ or above, the District has long advocated for dynamic accountability that ensures campuses, districts and students are meaningfully measured in a way that makes sense to the community.

In the fall of 2022, each Frisco ISD campus released its own Future-Ready Profile rooted in the tenets of a campus-based accountability system (CBAS).

The Future-Ready Campus Profile on each campus website details accomplishments, key data points and highlights that are simply unquantifiable on standardized assessments. The Profile is rooted in the Future-Ready Framework and represents a series of conditions that the District expects to exist for all students in FISD. 

Just like students are so much more than an individual STAAR/EOC score, AP score or their performance in competition, the District and campuses are much more than a set of data critiqued by arbitrary cut scores and a letter grade released by the TEA.

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