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Texas has announced opportunities for educators to participate in the development of summative assessments. Teacher groups will help ensure that questions are fair, appropriate, and accurately reflect what all students should have learned during the school year.

Additional assessment system efforts include the innovations shared by Dallas Independent School District Superintendent and 2020 Urban Educator of the Year, Michael Hinojosa. See highlights of their approach to addressing several challenges, including accountability, below:

Mask mandate

  • Dallas ISD drops mask mandate until Labor Day.

Rewarding teacher performance

  • Dallas ISD offers merit pay as a means of rewarding their best-performing teachers.
  • Limiting turnover.
  • Retaining best teachers
  • Significant student achievement improvement
  • Effective turnaround program
  • Teachers are working harder, longer, and getting results.

Merit pay

  • Teacher bonuses up to to 35%
  • Amount based on success
  • 10K for tough campuses
  • 4K for bilingual areas
  • Year round
  • High performance

Merit pay formula

  • Most money to best teachers in highest need schools.
  • Teacher performance measured by multiple measures:
    • 50% teacher evaluations
    • 35% test scores – variety of tests are used to determine absolute performance, value add measures, nationally normed tests, best is used
    • 15% student survey – conducted by an outside firm, highest correlation to student achievement.


  • State allowed Dallas ISD to use its own accountability system
  • Emphasis on culture
  • Dual language model for ELs
  • Biggest challenge now is determining Black students’ performance.
  • In person learning resulted in better performance than at home and hybrid models.

Additional Dallas ISD innovations

  • Starting a new school next year for students who want to learn non-traditionally.
    • High school IRS – incubate, replicate, and scale.
      • Incubate – Early College model, replicated in a comprehensive HS, including extra curriculars with same outstanding results, students had purpose.
      • Replicated NY’s model of Pathways in Technology (PTech)
      • Scaled it by putting it in every comprehensive HS, 90 industry partners, HS partnered with Dallas College. Associate degree while in HS.
    • Results:
      • 7% earned postsecondary credit (6 years post HS)
      • 10% earned associate degrees, industry certifications
      • 10 students hired at American Airlines.
      • Maximizing state model for early college.
    • Approach – Tiered system:
      • Top tier – AP/honors students, on their own
      • Next tier – PTech
      • Last 2 tiers – career institutes, pilot, cybersecurity, HVAC, credentials, principals of construction or technology.
  • Using state and relief money to double down
    • 46 schools are operating year round
    • Extensive tutoring
    • Paying teachers more
    • Revamped summer school (summer breeze) – staying late to catch up
    • Operation connectivity for broadband internet – 50M bond, now paid by state, funds used otherwise.

Dallas ISD mask mandates and merit pay: Podcast access HERE

More about the Texas effort

  • Texas Teachers Shape the STAAR
    • State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests are developed with input from committees of teachers, content experts, college representatives, and school administrators.
    • In addition to outlining test content based on Texas curriculum for each subject and grade, these committees also help to determine test duration and number of questions. After questions have been approved by the educator committees, they are field tested with thousands of students. A field test simulates a testing environment and helps determine which questions are valid for the summative assessments.
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