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Education News

Texas School Districts Grade Themselves For New Community Report Cards

The new self-evaluations are a new requirement under House Bill 5.


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As the superintendent for Alief, HD Chambers knows very well how his schools in southwest Houston are judged.

Screen grab of Alief’s Community & Student Engagement Ratings

It’s all about test scores.

“Very little, well absolutely nothing else — how do students perform on a test.”

That’s beginning to change.

Starting this year, there’s a new report card for every district in the state.

It’s called Community and Student Engagement.

It’s a new requirement from the education law known as House Bill 5.

“This was included to begin giving a broader view to a school community about how their school is doing on other things other than a student test.”

Those other things include …

“What are you doing to develop wellness? What are you doing to develop the work skills, the 21st century skills that individuals need to enter the workplace? What are we doing with technology?”

So how do school districts like Alief get graded on those other things?

Simple. They graded themselves.

“It’s a self-evaluation. And we all know the downfalls of self-evaluations. There will be those who will evaluate themselves very nicely when they don’t deserve it and there will be those who’ll probably be a little harder on themselves than maybe they should be.”

Here’s another way to look at these new report cards.

It’s like during a professional evaluation at the office when the boss asks an employee to perform a self-evaluation. And the employee gets to set their own goals.

Here districts are setting their own goals and measuring how they match up.

There are nine different categories. One is parent involvement.

Texas PTA President Leslie Boggs says people outside the school get to weigh in.

“Parents rate them on how they feel. So it’s not administrators rating administrators. It’s actually parents getting the message out on whether they feel engaged or not.”

In fact, the grading process was very involved for many districts like Spring ISD.

Lupita Hinojasa is the chief schools officer there.

“So, it is not one person in the back room, doing check marks, right? It is a committee that came together for each one of the nine indicators. It’s not just saying I’m exemplary because we are, right? You have to back it up with data.”

Every district has to put these new report cards on their website.

The ratings range from exemplary to unacceptable.

Hinojosa’s district, Spring ISD, ended up with an overall result of “acceptable.”