2015 Accountability FAQ

Section 1: General Information

1.  What is STAAR®?

2.  Which STAAR assessments will be used for accountability in 2015?

3.  Which STAAR assessments are excluded from accountability in 2015?

4.  What is the accountability subset?

5.  How is an accountability rating label determined for 2015?

6.  What is a performance index?

7.  What are the performance index targets for 2015?

8.  Must districts and campuses meet the target score on each of the four indices in order to receive a Met Standard rating in 2015?

9.  Are all districts and campuses, including new campuses, rated in 2015?

10.  What if a campus does not have data to calculate a performance index?

11.  When do schools receive their accountability ratings?

12.  All the campuses in our district are rated Met Standard, but the district is rated Improvement Required. How is this possible?

13.  What are the Community and Student Engagement ratings?  

14.  We are moving to Texas and want to find the best school for our children. Can you help?

15.  How do Texas schools compare to schools in other states?

 

Section 2: 2015 Performance Index Framework

16.  What is the purpose of Index 1: Student Achievement?  

17.  What is the purpose of Index 2: Student Progress?

18.  What is the STAAR Progress Measure?

19.  What is the ELL Progress Measure?  

20.  What is the difference between academic performance standards and scale scores?

21.  What is the difference between academic performance standards and performance index targets? How are they related?

22.  Are STAAR and ELL progress measure results for high schools and K–12 campuses included in Index 2 for districts? 

23.  What is the purpose of Index 3: Closing Performance Gaps?  

24.  Does Index 3 compare the lowest-performing student group to the highest-performing student group?  

25.  How are the two lowest racial/ethnic groups determined?  

26.  In Index 3, can special education and ELL student groups be considered in the lowest performance student groups?  

27.  What is the purpose of Index 4: Postsecondary Readiness?

28.  For the graduation plan component of Index 4, will Foundation High School Plan (FHSP) graduates be included along with the Recommended High School Program (RHSP) and Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP) graduates in the 2014 longitudinal cohort or 2014 annual rate?  

29.  The STAAR component of Index 4 requires students to meet Final Level II on two or more subjects.  What about a student who only takes only one exam?

30.  What is the source of the CTE coherent sequence status used in the calculation of the Index 4 Postsecondary Component: College and Career Readiness?    

 

Section 3: Alternative Education Accountability (AEA)

31.  What are alternative education campuses (AECs), and how are ratings assigned under AEA provisions?

32.  How do campuses qualify to be evaluated under AEA provisions, and when does registration occur?

 

Section 4: STAAR Retests and Mobility (SSI)

33.  How are the STAAR grades 5 and 8 results for students with Student Success Initiative (SSI) requirements included in the performance index results?

34.  Are grade 5 and 8 reading STAAR results from the May retest administration included in accountability?

35.  Since STAAR A assessments are excluded from accountability in 2015, what will happen with the SSI grade 5 or 8 reading results for a student whose Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee switches them from STAAR in the initial reading administration to STAAR A for the May reading retest?

36.  A student is enrolled in District A on the PEIMS October snapshot date, moves to District B, and fails the first administration of an exam. The student moves back to District A and passes the retest of that exam. How is the retest counted?

 

Section 5: District Posting Requirements

37.  What does the district need to provide to the public regarding the ratings?

 

Section 6: STAAR Retests and Mobility (EOC)

38.  How are STAAR EOC retest results included in the performance index results?   

 

Section 7: English Language Learners (ELL)

39.  Are ELL students’ test results included in system safeguards?  

40.  Are STAAR L results included in the 2015 accountability ratings?

41.  For grades 3–8 under Performance Index 4, if an ELL student takes one test in Spanish and one test in English, which test is considered? In this instance, would the student have to meet Final Level II standard to count?  

42.  If an ELL student does not have an ELL progress measure because his or her years in U.S. schools exceed his or her ELL plan year, how will the student’s results be counted?  

   

Section 8: Special Issues

43.  Are STAAR results for foreign exchange students used in accountability?

 

Section 9: Minimum Size

44.  What are the minimum size requirements for a student group to be included in the performance index calculations?

45.  What is small-numbers analysis and when is it used?

46.  When determining if the ELL student group meets the minimum size requirement for System Safeguards, are the monitored first-year (M1) and second-year (M2) ELL students included, or are only current ELLs included?  

  

Section 10: System Safeguards

47.  What are System Safeguards?  

48.  What are the minimum size requirements for student groups to be included in the System Safeguards?

49.  Are there two different targets for state and federal performance safeguards?

50.  What results can we expect to get on system safeguards given the exclusion of grade 3–8 mathematics, STAAR A, and STAAR Alternate 2 from accountability in 2015?

 

Section 11: Distinction Designations

51.  What are Distinction Designations?  

52.  Are alternative education campuses (AECs) eligible for Distinction Designations?  

53.  How is the Algebra I by Grade 8–Participation indicator calculated for Academic Achievement Distinction Designation in Mathematics?  

54.  What is a campus comparison group?  

55.  Can a district earn Postsecondary Readiness Distinction if any of its campuses are rated Improvement Required?  

56.  When do schools receive their distinction designations?

57.  Do students count toward the College-Ready Graduates indicator used for distinction designations if they meet an ELA benchmark on one type of assessment and meet the mathematics benchmark on another type of assessment (e.g. => 2200 on the mathematics exit-level TAKS and => 25 English and Composite ACT)?  

 

Section 12: Reports

58.  For 2015, which performance reports will exclude and include grades 3–8 mathematics, STAAR A, and STAAR Alternate 2 assessments?

 

Section 13: 2015 Accountability Development

59.  With a performance index, how do we ensure that individual student groups are not ignored?  

60.  Do other states use a performance index for the state accountability systems?

61.  Who helped TEA develop the state accountability rating system?  

62.  Who are the members of the APAC and ATAC advisory groups?

 

Section 14: Technical Information

63.  If a student's reported racial/ethnic value is different in each of the individual assessment files (STAAR 3–8, STAAR 5 and 8, or TELPAS), which race/ethnicity is used?  

64.  If a student is an excluded continuer from the 4-year graduation rate, because of Average Daily Attendance (ADA) eligibility or other statutory requirements, is this student included in the 5-year rate?  

65.  If a student is coded as a special education student or ELL on any one test document, is the student considered SPED/ELL for all documents?  

66.  Which TELPAS file used to determine the number of years an ELL student is enrolled in US schools?  

67.  How does a district or campus identify immigrants entering grade 9 or above?  

68.  If a TELPAS scored reading test is the only assessment result a district or campus has for a student (who is not an asylee/refugee), is the student included in the math participation denominator?  

69.  For TELPAS to count toward participation, must the student have a composite TELPAS score, or is participation based on the reading section only? What about for math?    

 

Section 1: General Information

1.  What is STAAR®?

STAAR® (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) is the state’s current testing program. Implemented in the 2011–12 school year, it is designed to measure the extent to which students have learned and are able to apply the knowledge and skills defined in the state curriculum standards. The STAAR program includes STAAR, STAAR Spanish, STAAR L (a linguistically accommodated version), STAAR A (an accommodated version) and STAAR Alternate 2 (for students who have significant cognitive disabilities). In 2015, STAAR assessments were given for the following subjects and courses:

  • Reading, grades 3–8
  • Mathematics, grades 3–8
  • Writing, grades 4 and 7
  • Science, grades 5 and 8
  • Social studies, grade 8
  • English I
  • English II
  • Algebra I
  • Biology
  • U.S. history

For more information about the STAAR program, please visit http://tea.texas.gov/student.assessment/staar

2.  Which STAAR assessments will be used for accountability in 2015?

For 2015 accountability, results from STAAR, STAAR Spanish, and STAAR L exams for the following subjects and courses will be used:

  • Reading, grades 3–8
  • Writing, grades 4 and 7
  • Science, grades 5 and 8
  • Social studies, grade 8
  • English I
  • English II
  • Algebra I
  • Biology
  • U.S. history

3.  Which STAAR assessments are excluded from accountability in 2015?

For 2015 accountability, results from STAAR, STAAR Spanish, and STAAR L exams for mathematics, grades 3–8 are excluded, as are results from STAAR A and STAAR Alternate 2 for every subject, grade level, and course.

4.  What is the accountability subset?

The accountability subset is the collection of assessment results that are used to determine district and campus accountability ratings and assign distinction designations. Only assessment results for those students enrolled in the same campus/district on both the snapshot date (the last Friday in October) and the testing date are used to determine campus/district performance.

5.  How is an accountability rating label determined for 2015?

Rating labels are determined by scores on the four performance indices that comprise the accountability system. Five different labels are used in 2015 to indicate acceptable performance, unacceptable performance, or that a district or campus has not received a rating:

  • Met Standard indicates acceptable performance; it is assigned to each district and campus that meets the target scores on all required indices for which it has performance data.
  • Met Alternative Standard indicates acceptable performance; it is assigned to eligible charter districts and alternative education campuses (AECs) that meet modified target scores on all required indices for which it has performance data.
  • Improvement Required indicates unacceptable performance; it is assigned to a district, campus, charter district, or AEC that does not meet the target scores on all required indices for which it has performance data.
  • Not Rated indicates that a district or campus did not receive a rating for one or more of the following reasons:
  • The district or campus serves only students enrolled in early education (EE).
  • The district or campus does not have data in the accountability subset.
    • The small district or campus has insufficient data to assign a rating after small numbers analysis has been conducted.
    • The district operates only residential facilities.
    • The campus is a Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP).
    • The campus is a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP).
    • The campus is a residential facility.
    •  The test documents for either the district or campus were lost in transit between the district and the test contractor.
     
  • Not Rated: Data Integrity Issues indicates that data accuracy and/or integrity have compromised performance results, making it impossible to assign a rating. The assignment of a Not Rated: Data Integrity Issues label can be either permanent or temporary, depending on the outcome of a subsequent investigation.

6.  What is a performance index?

A performance index is a measure of district or campus achievement in a specific area. Index scores are based on ratios and range from 0–100. A district or campus must meet or exceed the target score on an index in order to demonstrate acceptable performance in that area.  In 2015, there are four performance indices, each aligned to a stated goal of the accountability system:

  • Index 1: Student Achievement provides a snapshot of student performance across all subjects.
  • Index 2: Student Progress measures year-to-year student progress.
  • Index 3: Closing Performance Gaps emphasizes the academic achievement of economically disadvantaged students and the two lowest-performing racial/ethnic groups.
  • Index 4: Postsecondary Readiness emphasizes the importance of a high school diploma as the foundation of success in college, the workforce, job training programs, or the military.

 

7.  What are the performance index targets for 2015?

The targets vary for each index and depend on the school type—elementary, middle, high school/K-12—and whether the campus is an AEC. Chapter 2 of the 2015 Accountability Manual explains the index targets. The manual is available on the TEA website at https://rptsvr1.tea.texas.gov/perfreport/account/2015/manual/index.html

8.  Must districts and campuses meet the target score on each of the four indices in order to receive a Met Standard rating in 2015?

No, unlike in previous years, districts and campuses are not required to meet the target on all four performance indices in 2015. To receive a Met Standard or Met Alternative Standard rating, districts and campuses must meet the performance index target on

  • Index 1 or Index 2, and
  • Index 3, and
  • Index 4

A district or campus is not required to meet a target for an index for which it does not have performance data. A district or campus with performance data for all four indices must meet the target for either Index 1 or Index 2 and the targets for both Index 3 and Index 4. A district or campus with performance data for Index 1, Index 3, and Index 4 must meet the targets for all three. A district or campus with performance data for only Index 1 and Index 2 needs only to meet the target for either.

9.  Are all districts and campuses, including new campuses, rated in 2015?

A district or campus receives an accountability rating the first year that it reports fall enrollment. Not every district and campus in Texas, however, receives a label. State-administered school districts, including Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Texas School for the Deaf, Texas Juvenile Justice Department, and Windham School District, are not assigned a label.

The following districts and campuses are assigned a Not Rated label because of special circumstances:

  • Districts without any students enrolled in the grades for which STAAR assessments are administered (3–12)
  • Districts or campuses that serve only students enrolled in early education (EE)
  • Districts or campuses that do not have data in the accountability subset.
  • Districts or campuses with low enrollment that do not meet minimum-size criteria and for whom small-numbers analysis does not result in sufficient data to assign a rating
  • Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Programs (JJAEPs).
  • Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEPs).
  • Residential facilities.

10.  What if a campus does not have data to calculate a performance index?

If a district or campus does not have data to calculate its score for a performance index, that district or campus is not required to meet that index in order to receive a Met Standard rating. Such a district or campus would receive an accountability rating based on all required indices for which it has performance data. There are several reasons that a district or campus might not have data related to an index: too few assessment results or its specific grade-level configurations are two examples.

11.  When do schools receive their accountability ratings?

Each district will receive its accountability ratings on August 6, 2015. A week earlier, on July 30, 2015, each district will receive data tables for each index. By analyzing that information, districts and campuses may anticipate their ratings. Accountability ratings are released to the public on August 7, 2015.

12.  All the campuses in our district are rated Met Standard, but the district is rated Improvement Required. How is this possible?

It’s not uncommon for a campus to have a higher rating that its district. This could be caused by any of several scenarios:

  • One or more student groups are excluded from a campus’s accountability rating because the groups do not meet minimum-size criteria. At the district level, however, these student groups meet minimum-size criteria and are included in the district’s accountability rating.
  • Students move between campuses in a district during the school year. The STAAR results of these students are not included in the accountability ratings of either campus. The results are, however, included in the district's accountability ratings.
  • A district’s high school has a low graduation rate. Because elementary and middle schools are not accountable for the graduation rate component of Index 4, they would be unaffected, but the district’s rating would reflect the low graduation rate.

13.  What are the Community and Student Engagement ratings?

Community and Student Engagement ratings are locally assigned ratings that are posted on each district’s website and reported to TEA. Each year, using locally determined criteria, each district and charter school evaluates its performance and the performance of each of its campuses on specific measures. Each district and charter school assigns a rating of exemplary, recognized, acceptable, or unacceptable to itself and each of its campuses for overall performance in community and student engagement and for each of the following categories:

  • Fine arts
  • Wellness and physical education
  • Community and parental involvement
  • The 21st century workforce development program
  • The second-language acquisition program
  • The digital learning environment
  • Dropout prevention
  • Educational programs for gifted and talented students
  • Compliance with reporting and policy requirements

14.  We are moving to Texas and want to find the best school for our children. Can you help?

The Texas Academic Performance Reports provide a lot of useful information about each public school district and campus in the state, including profile information about students, staff, and programs.

TEA recommends that you narrow your search to the neighborhoods you are interested in and check the reports for the schools in that area. Once you have this background information, contact the principal and/or counselor for each school to get a more complete picture of the school. For campus contact information, see the Texas Education Directory.

15.  How do Texas schools compare to schools in other states?

The Texas Education Agency does not have information to report about other states. There are several sites, however, that do provide reports comparing different states' performance. Among them are the National Center for Education Statistics (which produces the Nation's Report Card), the National Education Association (which produces Rankings & Estimates), and the Council of Chief State School Officers (all of these link to outside sources). 

 

Section 2: 2015 Performance Index Framework

16.  What is the purpose of Index 1: Student Achievement?

The purpose of Index 1 is to provide a snapshot of performance across subjects. In 2015, Index 1 is based on the STAAR results at the phase-in 1 Level II passing standard, English Language Learners (ELL) progress measure at or above expectations, and state approved substitute assessments.

17.  What is the purpose of Index 2: Student Progress?

The purpose of Index 2 is to provide a measure of student progress by student group across all subject areas independent of overall student achievement levels. In 2015, growth is evaluated using a STAAR weighted progress rate across all subjects (reading, Algebra I only in 2015, and writing). Results are reported for all students combined and for nine student groups: African American, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, White, two or more races, special education, and ELL.

18.  What is the STAAR Progress Measure?

The STAAR progress measure quantifies a student’s year-to-year improvement by comparing current- and prior-year scores on STAAR. By comparing the change in his or her score to growth expectations, each student is assigned to one of three categories: did not meet growth expectations, met growth expectations, or exceeded growth expectations.

More information about the STAAR progress measure is available on the TEA website at http://tea.texas.gov/student.assessment/.

19.  What is the ELL Progress Measure?

The ELL progress measure accounts for the time needed to acquire the English language and to fully demonstrate grade-level academic competency in English. Year-to-year performance expectations for the STAAR content-area tests identify ELL student progress as meeting or exceeding an individual year-to-year expectation plan. An ELL student's plan is determined by the number of years the student has been enrolled in U.S. schools and the student's Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) composite proficiency level.

More information about the ELL progress measure (including how it is calculated and an ELL progress measure-specific FAQ) is available on the TEA website at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/ell.

20.  What is the difference between academic performance standards and scale scores?

Academic performance standards represent the degree to which students have learned the content and skills required by the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) as demonstrated by performance on STAAR assessments. Three levels describe student performance:

  • Level III: Advanced Academic Performance
  • Level II: Satisfactory Academic Performance
  • Level I: Unsatisfactory Academic Performance

A scale score allows direct comparisons of student performance between specific sets of test questions from different test administrations. Taking into account the difficulty of each set of questions, it converts the raw score into one that is common to all test forms for that assessment.

21.  What is the difference between academic performance standards and performance index targets? How are they related?

An academic performance standard is the cut score that indicates a student has achieved Level II: Satisfactory Academic Performance or Level III: Advanced Academic Performance on a STAAR assessment.

Each of the four performance indexes that comprise the accountability system has a specific target that districts and campuses must meet in order to demonstrate acceptable performance for an index. These are the performance index targets

See Chapter 2 – Ratings Criteria and Index Targets in the 2015 Accountability Manual for 2015 performance index targets.

22.  Are STAAR and ELL progress measure results for high schools and K–12 campuses included in Index 2 for districts?

All districts and campuses—including AECs and charter districts evaluated under AEA provisions—are evaluated on Index 2. The aggregated district-level Index 2 results include progress measure results for all campuses within the district.

23.  What is the purpose of Index 3: Closing Performance Gaps?

The purpose of Index 3 is to emphasize advanced academic achievement of the economically disadvantaged student group and the lowest performing racial/ethnic student groups at each district and campus.

24.  Does Index 3 compare the lowest-performing student group to the highest-performing student group?

No, Index 3 is designed to compare the performance of the lowest-performing student groups to an absolute target, rather than the relative target of the performance of another student group. Using an absolute target ensures that a narrowing of the performance gap is the result of improved performance by the lowest-performing student group. Using a relative target (the performance of another student group) would introduce the possibility that a narrowing of the performance gap is the result of a decline in performance of the highest-performing group, rather than improved performance of the lowest-performing group.

25.  How are the two lowest racial/ethnic groups determined?

A two-step process is used to identify the lowest performing racial/ethnic group from the previous year:

  1. Identify the racial/ethnic student groups that have 25 or more tests in both ELA/reading and mathematics in the previous year (minimum-size criteria).
  2. From the racial/ethnic student groups that meet minimum-size criteria, select the lowest-performing group(s).
    • If three or more racial/ethnic student groups meet minimum-size criteria, the performance of the two lowest-performing groups is included.
    • If two racial/ethnic student groups meet minimum-size criteria, performance of only the lowest-performing group is included.
    • If only one racial/ethnic student group meets the prior-year minimum-size criteria, the racial/ethnic group is not included and Index 3 is evaluated using the economically disadvantaged group only. 
     

26.  In Index 3, can special education and ELL student groups be considered in the lowest performance student groups?

No, the special education and ELL student groups are not included in Index 3 as a potentially lowest performing student groups.

27.  What is the purpose of Index 4: Postsecondary Readiness?

The purpose of Index 4 is to measure student preparedness for success in college, the workforce, job training programs, or the military. Elementary and middle schools are rated on their ability to prepare students for high school (the percentage of students who achieve the postsecondary readiness standard on STAAR). High schools are rated on the percentage of students who achieve the postsecondary readiness standard on STAAR, graduation rates, graduation plans, and a new college and career readiness component. See Chapter 4 – Performance Index Indicators in the 2015 Accountability Manual for more information.  

28.  For the graduation plan component of Index 4, will Foundation High School Plan (FHSP) graduates be included along with the Recommended High School Program (RHSP) and Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP) graduates in the 2014 longitudinal cohort or 2014 annual rate?

No, for 2015, FHSP graduates will not be included in the graduation plan component of Index 4.

29.  The STAAR component of Index 4 requires students to meet Final Level II on two or more subjects.  What about a student who only takes only one exam?

A student who takes only one exam is counted if he or she meets Final Level II on that exam. Following are a few examples showing the application of the STAAR component of Index 4.

1. An 11th grade student takes only the U.S. History EOC and scores at Final Level II. Since this student scored at Final Level II on their sole EOC, this student is included in the numerator and denominator for the STAAR component of Index 4.

2. A 9th grade student takes EOC exams for three subjects and scores at Final Level II in two of the subjects. Because students taking multiple subject exams must score at Final Level II on two or more subjects, this student is included in the numerator and denominator for the STAAR component of Index 4.

3. A 10th grade student takes EOC exams for two subjects and scores at Final Level II on only one of them. Because this student did not score at Final Level II on both of exams, he or she is included in the denominator but not in the numerator.

30.  What is the source of the CTE coherent sequence status used in the calculation of the Index 4 Postsecondary Component: College and Career Readiness?

The CTE coherent sequence status comes from the summer 2014 PEIMS 400 record that includes basic attendance data. See Appendix K – Data Sources of the 2015 Accountability Manual or the PEIMS Data Standards at http://tea.texas.gov/Reports_and_Data/Data_Submission/PEIMS/PEIMS_Data_Standards/PEIMS_Data_Standards/ for more details.

Section 3: Alternative Education Accountability (AEA)

31.  What are alternative education campuses (AECs), and how are ratings assigned under AEA provisions?

Alternative education campuses (AECs) are those that serve students at risk of dropping out of school as defined in Texas Education Code §29.081(d). Accountability ratings for AEA campuses and charter districts are assigned similarly to non-AEA districts and campuses, but the targets are modified, and an AEC’s Index 4 score is based on fewer components and weighted differently than is the score of a non-AEC.

32.  How do campuses qualify to be evaluated under AEA provisions, and when does registration occur?

To be eligible to be evaluated under AEA a provisions, an AEC must meet two criteria:

  • At least 75% of its students are considered at risk as verified by current-year PEIMS fall enrollment data. Campuses with less than 75% at-risk student enrollment may use prior-year PEIMS data to qualify.
  • At least 50% of its students are enrolled in grades 6–12   

Registration occurs in spring of the school year for which a charter district or campus wishes to be rated under AEA provisions. Eligible districts and campuses file an AEA Campus Registration Form using the TEASE Accountability website. Filing an AEA Campus Registration Form is required for each AEC not on the list of registered AECs that wishes to be evaluated by current-year AEA provisions. AECs rated under AEA provisions the previous year are pre-registered. A charter district or campus that was evaluated under AEA provisions the previous year and does not wish to be evaluated under AEA provision in the current year should file an AEA Campus Rescission Form using the TEASE Accountability website. The current-year registration process occurred April 2–16, 2015.

See Chapter 6 – Other Accountability System Processes in the 2015 Accountability Manual for additional details.

Section 4: STAAR Retests and Mobility (SSI)

33.  How are the STAAR grades 5 and 8 results for students with Student Success Initiative (SSI) requirements included in the performance index results?

Because of the transition to revised statewide curriculum standards in mathematics in 2015, STAAR assessments for grades 5 and 8 mathematics will be administered only once in the 2014–15 school year. As a result, the Student Success Initiative (SSI) requirement that students in grades 5 and 8 must pass the STAAR mathematics assessment in order to move to the next grade level is suspended for the 2014–15 school year. As stated above, the mathematics test results for grades 5 and 8 are excluded from accountability in 2015.

For students in grades 5 and 8, the performance index includes reading test results from the first and second administration. The best test result (that is included in the accountability subset) is used. The accountability subset is all test results of students who were enrolled in the district or campus on both the fall PEIMS snapshot date (last Friday in October) and the testing day.

34.  Are grade 5 and 8 reading STAAR results from the May retest administration included in accountability?

Yes.

35.  Since STAAR A assessments are excluded from accountability in 2015, what will happen with the SSI grade 5 or 8 reading results for a student whose Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee switches them from STAAR in the initial reading administration to STAAR A for the May reading retest?

All STAAR tests, including STAAR A, are used to determine the best test for SSI. If the best test selected from the SSI reading process is STAAR A, the STAAR A result is identified as their record for accountability and then excluded from the index calculation.

36.  A student is enrolled in District A on the PEIMS October snapshot date, moves to District B, and fails the first administration of an exam. The student moves back to District A and passes the retest of that exam. How is the retest counted?

The retest is used for District A’s accountability. The failed test from the first administration at District B is not used for accountability for District A or B. 

 

Section 5: District Posting Requirements

37.  What does the district need to provide to the public regarding the ratings?

Each district must post its ratings on its website. They must also provide information directly to parents regarding school performance. For detailed information on what is required, see the Posting FAQ.

 

Section 6: STAAR Retests and Mobility (EOC)

38.  How are STAAR EOC retest results included in the performance index results?

Each district and campus is accountable for three EOC test administrations: 1) summer results for students enrolled on the prior-year fall enrollment snapshot date (October 25, 2013), 2) fall results for students enrolled on the fall enrollment snapshot date (October 31, 2014), 3) spring results for students enrolled on the fall enrollment snapshot date (October 31, 2014). The table below describes the 2015 subset criteria for EOC tests and retests.

If a student was enrolled in a district/campus on this date,

these results are included in that district’s/campus’s accountability subset.

October 25, 2013 enrollment snapshot

EOC summer 2014 administration

October 31, 2014 enrollment snapshot

EOC fall 2014 administration

EOC spring 2015 administration

Please see the Subset Scenarios for detailed scenarios regarding retests.  

 

Section 7: English Language Learners (ELL)

39.  Are ELL students’ test results included in system safeguards? 

Yes. The system safeguards use the performance results calculated for Index 1. 

40.  Are STAAR L results included in the 2015 accountability ratings?

Yes, but only for ELL students by way of an ELL progress measure and only in Index 1 and Index 2. STAAR L results are not included in Index 3 or Index 4.

41.  For grades 3–8 under Performance Index 4, if an ELL student takes one test in Spanish and one test in English, which test is considered? In this instance, would the student have to meet Final Level II standard to count?

ELL students in U. S. schools less than five years are included in Index 4 and credit the STAAR Postsecondary Readiness Standard based on the Spanish test version only. Please refer to Appendix I - Inclusion of ELLs in 2015 and Beyond of the 2015 Accountability Manual for more information.

 42.  If an ELL student does not have an ELL progress measure because his or her years in U.S. schools exceed his or her ELL plan year, how will the student’s results be counted?

An ELL student without an ELL progress measure solely because his or her years in U.S. schools exceeds his or her ELL plan year will be treated the same way as an ELL student with parental denials. Please refer to Appendix I - Inclusion of ELLs in 2015 and Beyond of the 2015 Accountability Manual for more information.

Section 8: Special Issues

43.  Are STAAR results for foreign exchange students used in accountability?

Yes, if a foreign exchange student takes the STAAR and is in the accountability subset, his or her performance counts toward the school’s accountability rating.

 

Section 9: Minimum Size

44.  What are the minimum size requirements for a student group to be included in the performance index calculations?

The minimum size for the All Students group for each of the indices is 10. Small-numbers analysis is conducted to determine the accountability rating of districts and campuses between one and nine in the All Students group. Indices 2, 3, and 4 have a minimum size requirement of 25 students for each student group.

45.  What is small-numbers analysis and when is it used?

Three-year average performance is used at the indicator level to calculate indicators for small districts and campuses that do not meet minimum size criteria using current-year data. See the 2015 Accountability Manual and the Small Numbers Analysis flowcharts  for more details.

 46.  When determining if the ELL student group meets the minimum size requirement for System Safeguards, are the monitored first-year (M1) and second-year (M2) ELL students included, or are only current ELLs included?

For Systems Safeguards, the minimum size is based on the count of current ELL students.

 

Section 10: System Safeguards

47.  What are System Safeguards?

System safeguards are used to meet state accountability-related intervention requirements and federal accountability requirements. Performance results are disaggregated to show the performance of each student subgroup on each of the indicators. The purpose of the system safeguard report is to ensure that—in the aggregated district or campus reports—substandard performance in one or more areas or by one or more student groups is not disguised by higher performance in other areas or by other student groups. See Chapter 8 – System Safeguards and Other Federal Requirements in the 2015 Accountability Manual for detailed information about system safeguards in 2015.

48.  What are the minimum size requirements for student groups to be included in the System Safeguards?

See Chapter 8 – System Safeguards and Other Federal Requirements in the 2015 Accountability Manual for details on minimum size. 

49.  Are there two different targets for state and federal performance safeguards?  

Yes, see Chapter 8 – System Safeguards and Other Federal Requirements of the 2015 Accountability Manual for the targets for STAAR performance for the state and federal safeguards.

50.  What results can we expect to get on system safeguards given the exclusion of grade 3–8 mathematics, STAAR A, and STAAR Alternate 2 from accountability in 2015?

Two system safeguard reports will be issued in 2015:

  1. The State System Safeguards report will exclude grade 3–8 mathematics, STAAR A, and STAAR Alternate 2 results from performance and participation. In addition, no district-level federal cap information will be provided. This report will be available August 7, 2015.
  2. Federal law requires mathematics and alternate assessment reports to be included in federal data submissions. Because of that requirement, a Federal System Safeguards report will be published in October 2015 to include grade 3–8 mathematics using the performance standards expected to be approved by the commissioner by September 2015. The report will also include STAAR A and STAAR Alternate 2 results and the district-level 1% cap calculations for STAAR Alternate 2. See Chapter 8 – System Safeguards and Other Federal Requirements of the 2015 Accountability Manual for additional information on federal system safeguards.

 

Section 11: Distinction Designations

51.  What are Distinction Designations?

Distinction designations are awarded to campuses for outstanding performance in relation to 40 other similar campuses. A campus that receives an accountability rating of Met Standard is eligible for the following distinction designations in 2015.

  • Top 25% Student Progress
  • Top 25% Closing Performance Gaps
  • Academic Achievement in English Language Arts (ELA)/Reading
  • Academic Achievement in Mathematics
  • Academic Achievement in Science
  • Academic Achievement in Social Studies
  • Postsecondary Readiness

In 2015, districts that earn a rating of Met Standard are eligible for a Postsecondary Readiness designation. 

52.  Are alternative education campuses (AECs) eligible for Distinction Designations?

No, campuses evaluated under alternative education accountability (AEA) provisions are not eligible for distinction designations, per Texas Education Code (TEC) §39.201.

53.  How is the Algebra I by Grade 8–Participation indicator calculated for Academic Achievement Distinction Designation in Mathematics?

Beginning in 2015, the Algebra I by Grade 8–Participation indicator limits the denominator to 8th grade students (according to the 2014 PEIMS fall enrollment snapshot) who took an Algebra I EOC in the current or any prior school year (as reported on the Consolidated Accountability File (CAF) cumulative history section).

54.  What is a campus comparison group?

Campus comparison groups are used to determine which campuses earn distinction designations. Distinction designations are awarded to campuses for outstanding performance in relation to 40 other similar campuses. Each campus is assigned to a unique comparison group comprised of Texas schools that are most similar to it. To determine the campus comparison group, each campus is identified by school type (See the School Types chart in Chapter 2 – Ratings Criteria and Index Targets of the 2015 Accountability Manual.) then grouped with 40 other campuses from anywhere in Texas that are most similar in grade levels served, size, the percentage of students who are economically disadvantaged, mobility rate, and the percentage of English language learners. Each campus has only one campus comparison group, and each campus in a comparison group has its own unique comparison group. There is no limit to the number of comparison groups to which a school may be a member. It is possible for a school to be a member of no comparison group other than its own, or a member of a number of comparison groups within a particular school type. See Appendix H – Campus Comparison Groups of the 2015 Accountability Manual for more details.

55.  Can a district earn Postsecondary Readiness Distinction if any of its campuses are rated Improvement Required

Yes. 

56.  When do schools receive their distinction designations?

Distinction designations are assigned to eligible campuses concurrent with the release of the state accountability ratings on August 7, 2015. The 2015 campus comparison groups are also released publicly at this time.

57.  Do students count toward the College-Ready Graduates indicator used for distinction designations if they meet an ELA benchmark on one type of assessment and meet the mathematics benchmark on another type of assessment (e.g. => 2200 on the mathematics exit-level TAKS and => 25 English and Composite ACT)? 

Yes, this is the College-Ready Graduates indicator that has been reported in the Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR) and Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) reports for several years. It gives credit for students who meet the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) standards on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), SAT, or ACT within the respective subject area. To be included, the student must meet the standards in both ELA and mathematics. 

Section 12: Reports

58.  For 2015, which performance reports will exclude and include grades 3–8 mathematics, STAAR A, and STAAR Alternate 2 assessments?

Please refer to the following table.

Data processed from June Consolidated Accountability File (CAF) Grades 38 mathematics, STAAR A, and 
STAAR Alternate 2 Excluded

Data processed from September Consolidated Accountability File (CAF) Grades 38 mathematics, STAAR A, and 
STAAR Alternate 2 Included

Annual Accountability Ratings, Reports, and Downloads 

Federal System Safeguards Reports and Download

Annual State System Safeguards Reports and Downloads

EDFACTS Submissions

Texas Consolidated School Rating Report (TCSR) 

Federal Report Card

Post-Appeals Accountability Ratings, Reports and Downloads

Texas Performance Reporting System (TPRS) and Downloads

Post-Appeals TCSR 

Title III Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives 
(AMAO) Reports

Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPR) and Downloads (TAPR replaced the AEIS Reports)

 

School Report Cards

 

Texas School Accountability Dashboard

 

Public Education Grant (PEG)

 

 

Section 13: 2015 Accountability Development

59.  With a performance index, how do we ensure that individual student groups are not ignored?

Index 3 is specifically designed to address this concern. In addition to evaluating the economically disadvantaged student group, this index identifies the two lowest-performing racial/ethnic student groups for the district and for each campus based on their prior-year performance. Index 3 is the critical index in the overall district or campus evaluation that ensures their lowest-performing student groups receive focused interventions. The system evaluates the performance of eleven student groups: All Students, African American, Hispanic, White, American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander, Two or More Races, Students served by Special Education, Economically Disadvantaged, and English Language Learners depending on the specific indicator and index.

Also critical to ensuring individual student group performance are the system safeguards. The underlying accountability system safeguards results are reported to districts and campuses and addressed through the Texas Accountability Intervention System (TAIS). Along with possible interventions, the system safeguards ensure that substandard performance in one area or one student group is not disguised by higher performance by another student group or in another area.

 60.  Do other states use a performance index for the state accountability systems?

Yes, a number of states use variations of performance index systems to evaluate their schools. The accountability advisory committee members that developed the performance index proposal reviewed the performance index systems in place for California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

61.  Who helped TEA develop the state accountability rating system?

Two advisory committees, the Accountability Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) and the Accountability Policy Advisory Committee (APAC), met with TEA staff numerous times to consider the complex technical issues related to accountability and make recommendations to the commissioner on the specific features of the system. The accountability development materials that were reviewed at each meeting by the advisory groups are available online at the 2015 Accountability Development Materials site.

62.  Who are the members of the APAC and ATAC advisory groups?

In addition to educators representing campuses, school districts, and education service centers, the members of the 2015 Accountability Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) includes legislative representatives, business and community leaders, representatives of higher education, and parents of children attending Texas public schools.

Members of the 2015 Accountability Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) are Texas public school educators from districts and education service centers who have detailed knowledge of the state assessment and accountability systems.

 

Section 14: Technical Information

63.  If a student's reported racial/ethnic value is different in each of the individual assessment files (STAAR 3–8, STAAR 5 and 8, or TELPAS), which race/ethnicity is used?

The accountability results are based on the demographic information from the Consolidated Accountability File (CAF) which includes only one racial/ethnic value. The CAF file provides the most recent demographic information based on the last test administration available for each student.

64.  If a student is an excluded continuer from the 4-year graduation rate, because of Average Daily Attendance (ADA) eligibility or other statutory requirements, is this student included in the 5-year rate?

Student exclusions may vary depending on the appropriate data for each cohort. The student may be excluded from the 4-year cohort and included in the 5-year cohort if the reported attendance or relevant data for the student changes in the final year of the cohort. Detailed information about the graduation rate calculations are available in the annual publication, Secondary School Completion and Dropouts in Texas Public Schools, online athttp://tea.texas.gov/acctres/dropcomp_index.html#reports

65.  If a student is coded as a special education student or ELL on any one test document, is the student considered SPED/ELL for all documents?

The accountability results are based on the demographic information from the Consolidated Accountability File (CAF) which includes only one special education/ELL (Limited English Proficiency) value. The CAF file provides the most recent program information based on the last test administration available for each student. For the LEP field, if the student tested in TELPAS or is identified as a current LEP student (value of “C”) in any current-year test administration, the value on the CAF file will be “C.”

66.  Which TELPAS file used to determine the number of years an ELL student is enrolled in US schools?

Years in U.S. schools is based on 2015 TELPAS data. If information on years in U.S. schools does not exist, results are included with a value of 5 years.

67.  How does a district or campus identify immigrants entering grade 9 or above?

The enrolled grade-level reported on the fall 2014 PEIMS enrollment submission, the STAAR EOC test, and the number of years of enrollment in U.S. schools reported on the 2015 TELPAS determine whether or not an ELL student is considered an "immigrant entering grade 9 or above." See Appendix I - Inclusion of ELLs in 2015 and Beyond of the 2015 Accountability Manual for more information.

68.  If a TELPAS scored reading test is the only assessment result a district or campus has for a student (who is not an asylee/refugee), is the student included in the math participation denominator?

No.

69.  For TELPAS to count toward participation, must the student have a composite TELPAS score, or is participation based on the reading section only? What about for math?

A TELPAS scored reading test credits reading participation. It is possible that a TELPAS scored reading test will credit mathematics participation, but only for asylee/refugee students.