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Accountability Ratings – APPEAL DEADLINE IS SEPTEMBER 30, 2016.

September 15, 2016

This is to remind member schools of the deadlines regarding an appeal of a school's academic accountability rating for the 2015-2016 school year, and the critical importance of these ratings in light of the mandatory charter revocation requirements under Tex. Educ. Code §12.115(c).

Accountability Rating
On August 12, 2016, TEA released preliminary 2016 Accountability ratings (for the 2015-2016 school year) through each school’s TEASE account. The last day to timely appeal your Accountability Rating is September 30, 2016.

Basis for Academic Accountability Ratings. Accountability ratings are determined by assessing whether a school or charter operator meets or exceeds target index scores. Chapter 2 of the 2016 Accountability Manual. The four performance indices used to evaluate academic accountability include focus on student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps, and postsecondary readiness. Each index is based on a score of 0-100 points, with campus or district scores calculated as a percentage of the maximum possible points. Together, the index scores result in ratings of Met Standard, Met Alternative Standard, Improvement Required, Not Rated, or Not Rated: Data Integrity Issues. Schools receiving an Improvement Required or Not Rated: Data Integrity Issues ratings should consider making a timely appeal to TEA.

Opportunity for and Basis of Accountability Ratings Appeal. To appeal a preliminary accountability rating, the school must first register the intent to appeal through TEASE, beginning on August 12 through September 30, 2016. 2016 Accountability Manual, 77. Once registered, the school must then mail a formal appeal to the Division of Performance Reporting.

Appeals must be postmarked or hand-delivered no later than September 30, 2016, in order to be considered.

Chapter 7 of the 2016 Accountability Manual governs the process for appealing an accountability rating and sets forth the specific items that must be included in the appeal (pages 78-81). Once a timely appeal is received, TEA staff will review and prepare a recommendation for an external review panel. Ultimately, the Commissioner will receive a recommendation from the external review panel and make a final decision, which is not appealable. Even in the context of a charter revocation hearing, the validity of a final academic rating will not be examined.

Grounds for an appeal of an accountability rating are varied. At a minimum, a viable appeal must involve a change that would result in a higher accountability rating. A valid appeal will highlight an error attributable to TEA, a regional education service center (ESC), or the test contractor for the student assessment program. In other words, errors caused by the charter are not appealable. For more detailed examples of what TEA will likely dismiss on appeal, please review page 83 of the 2016 Accountability Manual.

Charter Revocation Implications. Under Tex. Educ. Code §12.115(c) the Commissioner shall revoke the charter of an open-enrollment charter if the charter has received:

• An Unacceptable/Improvement Required academic rating for three preceding years;
• A Substandard or Suspended-Data Quality FIRST rating for three preceding years; or
• Any combination of the ratings described above for three preceding school years.

Because of this charter revocation mandate, it is critically important that member schools fully review their academic ratings and consider making an appeal. Once an accountability rating is final, it may not be appealed. Even in the context of a charter revocation hearing, the validity of a prior academic rating will not be reconsidered.

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