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Making the grade in Texas

Dear friend,

Today, I presented ExcelinEd’s model A-F School Grading policy to the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability. The Commission was created in 2015 to develop and make recommendations for new systems of student assessment and public school accountability for the Lone Star State.

All states are required to have a school accountability system. Students and schools must be held to high academic standards, with their progress measured and results reported in simple, transparent formats.

Seventeen states across the nation, including Texas, have adopted an A-F school grading system to provide transparent, objective and easily understood data to parents, educators and the public and spur improvement among all schools.

Having taken the first step in creating a transparent classification system, Texas now has the opportunity to adopt additional fundamental principles to the policy to ensure a system that will improve student learning outcomes.

Fundamental principles that states are adopting include:

  • Using clear and transparent descriptors of A, B, C, D and F.
  • Including objective, concise student learning outcome measures.
  • Balancing measures of student performance and progress.
  • Calculating student progress toward grade level and advanced achievement.
  • Focusing attention on the progress of the lowest performing students in each school.
  • Reporting results in a timely manner as close to the end of the school year as possible
  • Communicating clearly to parents.
  • Establishing rigorous criteria, with automatic increases, to earn A, B, C, D or F grades.
  • Using grades to identify schools for recognition, intervention, and support.

Learn more at

We look forward to working with education leaders in Texas to share proven policies that can improve an accountability system and help all students achieve their full potential.


Christy Hovanetz, PhD

Senior Policy Fellow, Accountability

The Foundation for Excellence in Education