AUSTIN (KXAN) — A system meant to raise the bar for how districts measure student readiness is also raising concerns, some districts say.

In March, hundreds of school districts across the state sent a letter to the Texas Education Agency asking to delay the ‘A-F’ Accountability Rating system changes.

Austin ISD was one of those districts, they also posted about their concerns on their website.

“I think the challenge will be for districts and the Texas Education Agency to help explain that this might not be a change in performance, actually students are doing as well as they did, but it is a resetting of the accountability system,” said Carolyn Hanschen, executive director of accountability and assessment with AISD.

TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said the changes to the system will help in a number of ways.

“As schools are improving, parents need to know then,” said Morath. “If they are not and they are regressing then parents need to know that as well.”

Some of the changes will put a focus on updating cut points, which distinguish between performance levels. This is just one of many changes in the ‘A-F’ accountability ratings refresh.

“We are updating CCMR indicators, We are improving our ability to recognize growth,” said Morath. “Narrowing our focus on the most at risk kids, to close achievement gaps most effectively, we are updating our overall district rating methodology, we are creating a unique evaluation system, just for drop out recovery schools.”

Austin ISD is anticipating it’s secondary campus and district ‘A-F’ letter grades will decline by one to two letters under new TEA rules.

“Campus grades will be lower because of the cut scores,” said Hanschen.

According to a post on AISD’s website, “From 2017-2022, if 60% of graduates from a high school were found to achieve CCMR, the school got a score of 90, which earned an ‘A’ from the TEA. Under the new rules, the same CCMR achievement rate will only earn a 67 – a grade of ‘D.'”

The 2023 ‘A-F’ ratings will be released at the end of September.