AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — School ratings to be announced Friday by the Texas Education Agency were formulated using a measure that allows students to get credit for improvement even if they didn't pass.
Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott, warning that student progress is being overshadowed by criticism of the Texas Projection Measure, has said he may suspend the practice in 2011 ratings. He has asked administrators for feedback.
The measure, which was approved last year by the U.S. Department of Education, boosts school ratings by factoring in a projection of students' future performances on the state's standardized test.
Critics have argued that the projection measure artificially inflates ratings by allowing schools to count as passing some students who fail the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills if projection measures show they could pass in a future year.
Advocates of the projection measure say it rewards schools with a large percentage of disadvantaged students who are making consistent improvements, even if they fall short of minimum standards.
School districts and campuses are rated based on student performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills and a standardized test for special education students, along with dropout and completion rates. Schools receive ratings of exemplary, recognized, acceptable or unacceptable.
Last year, about 62 percent of the exemplary school districts were elevated as a result of the projection model. In individual student groups, the projection measure most applied to Hispanic and economically disadvantaged children on all portions of the test.
At the time, Scott defended the measure, arguing that the formula is fair and that analysis shows a correlation of 90 percent or above between state predictions and actual student achievement.
Scott said in a letter to school administrators earlier this month that this year's ratings will clearly show where the projection measure was used to elevate a district or campus's rating.
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