The Texas Public Schools Explorer, The Texas Tribune’s comprehensive education tool, was updated this week to include data from the 2017-18 school year. The explorer now also includes the state’s new A-F ratings for school districts, which were released last year.
Last August, Texas gave school districts their first official grades, rating each district on an A-F scale. It’s a change from the previous pass/fail rating system, and has been the focus of a years-long debate over how to best help parents weigh schooling options for their children without relying too much on standardized test scores.
State officials have argued that the new A-F grading system is more transparent. But some educators and advocates disagree, saying that lumping multiple metrics into a single letter grade is misleading to parents and unfair to schools.
Lawmakers made final changes to the new rating system — which gives districts a letter grade in three categories: student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps — during the 2017 legislative session. Districts receive an individual grade in each category based on metrics including how well students perform on standardized tests and whether students are ready for college. The three individual grades are then used to calculate an overall grade.
Individual schools will not receive their official letter grades until August. Currently, their official ratings are based on the previous accountability system — with designations including “met standard,” “met alternative standard” and “improvement required. The state released numerical grades for each school, which can be translated to letter grades and can be found on this Texas Education Agency website.
The explorer uses data provided by the Texas Education Agency to calculate information on the state’s 1,200 districts and 8,759 public schools, including graduation rates, demographic breakdowns, test scores and teacher experience and salary data. To use the explorer, search a district or school name. Don’t know the exact name of a school or district? Start typing and the search bar will auto-populate until you find it.