Texas Education Agency accountability ratings system
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Accountability under STAAR
At the beginning in 2013, schools and districts receive one of three accountability ratings: "Met Standard", "Met Alternative Standard" or "Improvement Required", based on four indices, including student performance on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test. Schools and districts that receive "Met Standard" ratings are also eligible to receive one or more distinctions based on outstanding performance in specific areas of these indices.
In May 2015, the Texas legislature approved a plan to assign schools and districts "A-F" ratings that mimic a letter grade scale, with a goal of providing a simplified way to understand school performance. When TEA released preliminary school and school district ratings using the A-F system in January 2017, they were met with criticism; schools that rated very highly under previous rating systems received failing grades from the new system and opponents pointed out that simplified ratings correlate more strongly with poverty levels than other measures of school performance.
Accountability under TAKS
Note: This ranking system was last used in 2011. Texas schools are now ranked under a new system using performance on the STAAR Test and several other performance indexes.
Based on school or district performs, the school or district received one of four possible rankings: Exemplary (the highest possible ranking), Recognized, Academically Acceptable, and Academically Unacceptable (the lowest possible ranking). In rare instances, the category Not Rated: Other will be used.
According to the agency, the number of state schools and districts who received the top ratings of "exemplary" and "recognized" increased from 2,213 in 2005 to 3,380 in 2006 - a 52.73% increase over the previous year.
In order to receive an Exemplary rating, a school/district must meet all four of the following criteria:
- TAKS (TM) Test Passing - At least 90 percent of all students must pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test overall and on each of five subsections (Reading/ELA, Writing, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Science); in addition, each "subgroup" (African American, Hispanic, White, and Economically Disadvantaged) must also meet the 90 percent criterion overall and in each subsection (provided there are enough students to meet "minimum size" requirements)
- SDAA II Test Passing - At least 90 percent of all students must pass the State-Developed Alternative Assessment II (SDAA II) test, which is required for only those students for whom the TAKS test is not an acceptable measurement (subgroup criterion does not apply)
- Completion Rate - At least 95 percent of all students, as well as 95 percent of each subgroup listed under the TAKS test, must either have completed or are continuing their education four years after entering high school (this criterion applies to high schools and districts only)
- Dropout Rate - No more than 0.2 percent of all students, as well as no more than 0.2 percent of each subgroup, can have dropped out of school.
The criteria are 75 percent pass rate on TAKS and SDAA II (again, required for all students as well as each subgroup), 85 percent on Completion Rate, and 0.7 percent on Dropout Rate.
The criteria are 60 percent on TAKS Subsections "Social Studies", "Reading/ELA", and "Writing", 40 percent on "Mathematics", which were an increase in standards in 2006 from 2005. Other minimum standards required to be met are 40 percent on "Science", 50 percent on SDAA II, 75 percent on Completion Rate, and 1.0 percent on Dropout Rate.
Any school or district not meeting all of the above criteria for Academically Acceptable will be rated thus. Any school or district with such ranking will be required to submit a plan for corrective action, and TEA may assign a monitor to the school or district to assist it in improving its rating.
A district with two consecutive Academically Unacceptable ratings can be closed by TEA (as was the case with the now-defunct Wilmer-Hutchins Independent School District and the Mirando City Independent School District).
Not Rated: Other
- School Districts/Charter Schools
- Used if the campus:
- has no students enrolled in grades higher than kindergarten
- has insufficient data to rate due to no TAKS results in the accountability subset
- has insufficient data to rate through Special Analysis due to very small numbers of TAKS results in the accountability subset
- is a designated Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP) or a designated Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP)
- Used if the campus:
For a district to receive Exemplary or Recognized status, it cannot have any school rated Academically Unacceptable (even if the overall district statistics would rate such); if a district has any such campus, the district overall can be rated no higher than Academically Acceptable. Alternative education programs are rated using different criteria or forms of language.
Under the exception policy, each school may be granted up to four exceptions to the passing standards depending on the number of standards tested (up to the maximum 25 standards):
- If between 1–4 standards tested, 0 exceptions granted
- If between 5–8 standards tested, 1 exception granted
- If between 9–11 standards tested, 2 exceptions granted
- If between 12–15 standards tested, 3 exceptions granted
- If between 16–25 standards tested, 4 exceptions granted
- In addition, if a school tests on 10 or more standards, an exception is granted to allow the school to achieve Exemplary status
In order to qualify for a standard the actual score must be no lower than 5 points of the score needed to achieve a ranking. A school cannot use the same exception for two consecutive years, and if an exception is used the district must file an academic improvement plan with TEA.
- Morgan Smith (May 31, 2015). "Texas Lawmakers Approve A-F Grades for Public Schools". Texas Tribune. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- Aliyya Swaby (January 13, 2017). "Texas educators criticize discrepancies between new A-F and past ratings". Texas Tribune. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- Diane Smith (January 4, 2017). "Educators not happy with 'what if' report using A-F grades". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
David Anthony (May 11, 2015). "Another voice: Rating performance or punishing poverty?". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- "Schools improve across the state". The Daily Texan. 3 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-03.[dead link]
- "Schools graded on a curve," Dallas Morning News, June 29, 2008