2016 Accountability FAQ

General Information

Q: When do schools receive their accountability ratings?

A: Each district will receive its accountability ratings on August 12, 2016. Accountability ratings are released to the public on August 15, 2016.

Q: What accountability information will districts receive on August 12th?

A: Districts will receive the rating for the district and each of its campuses. Index scores for each index will also be published.

Q: What will be released to the public on August 15th?

A: The public will have access to the ratings and index scores for each district and campus.

Q: What are the accountability data tables and when will they be available?

A: Data tables consist of data sorted by each index used to calculate index scores. Data tables will be available by August 23rd to districts and by August 26th to the public.

Q: We had tests that were considered “affected”, how will they be used in our accountability?

A: The following assessment results affected by the March 2016 online testing issues will be excluded from ALL index calculations:

  • 5 and 8 reading and mathematics and any subsequent May SSI retests;
  • 4 and 7 writing;
  • English I and English II EOCs and any prior English I and English II EOCs from fall 2015 or summer 2015;

If, however, including the results from either the March or May test administration would change a district or campus rating from Improvement Required to Met Standard, that district or campus will receive a Met Standard rating. The data will remain the same; only the rating will change. TEA will conduct this analysis prior to the release of the preliminary ratings on August 12.    

Q: What is the definition of an “affected test”?

A: ETS created three flags to identify students affected by online issues during the March 2016 STAAR administration. These flags can be found on the student-level data files that were provided to districts by ETS. In the assessment reporting file, these flags are located in the Online Test Disruption Flag field. In the accountability file, these flags are located in the Test Administration Indicator field. Both fields carry a 1, 2, or 3 depending on the type of online issue experienced by the student.

Flag 1=Inactivity

The “inactivity” flag indicates students who experienced a disruption due to the server timing out during the test. This flag applies to tests which experienced time outs on March 29, 2016, between 8:00 AM and 10:45 AM.

Flag 2=Test Version

The “test version” flag indicates students who were shown the incorrect version of the online test when they logged in with their test ticket on March 29, 2016.

Flag 3=Both

The “both” flag indicates students who experienced both the “inactivity” and “incorrect test version” issues during testing on March 29, 2016.

Q: Since the Commissioner cancelled the June STAAR testing for the 5th and 8th SSI students, does that mean their previous tests (March and May 2016) will not be used to calculate accountability for the campus and district?

A: The 5th and 8th grade reading and math test administrations in March and May will be used for index calculations with the exception of assessments flagged as having had online testing issues in March 2016 and any subsequent retests for those flagged students. The best score from either test will be used for each index. 

Q. How does the cancellation of grade 5 and 8 STAAR second retest administration affect our district/campus accountability?

A. The results from the second STAAR retest administration (June) are not used in accountability calculations. 

Q: How are the STAAR grade 5 and 8 results for students with Student Success Initiative (SSI) requirements included in the performance index results?

A: For students in grades 5 and 8, the performance index calculation will include test results for reading and mathematics from the first administration and the first re-test administration of all STAAR test versions.

The STAAR reading and mathematics test results from the first (March) and (May) second administration (which is the first re-test opportunity) are processed in two steps. First, the best test result from both administrations is found for each subject. If all test results have the same level of performance, then the most recent test result is selected for calculation. Second, the accountability subset rules determine whether the test result is included in the performance index.  Grades 5 and 8 students results from the March and May testing are included in 2016 accountability ratings. Grades 5 and 8 student results from the summer testing administration are not used in 2016 accountability ratings.

Q: What are the performance index targets for 2016?

A: 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 and Appendix L of the 2016 Accountability Manual explain the index targets. The manual is available on the TEA website at http://tea.texas.gov/2016accountabilitymanual.aspx.

Q: Must districts and campuses meet the target score on each of the four indices in order to receive a Met Standard rating in 2016?

A: No, to receive a Met Standard or Met Alternative Standard rating, districts and campuses must meet the target on three indices: 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.

Q: Are all districts and campuses, including new campuses, rated in 2016?

A: 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 label of Not Rated for 2016:

  • 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

Q: What if a campus does not have data to calculate a performance index?

A: 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 the target for that particular index. 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.

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

A: 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.

Accountability Subset

Q: What is the accountability subset?

A: The accountability subset is the collection of assessment results that are used to determine district and campus accountability ratings and distinction designations.

A subset of test results from both districts and campuses is used to calculate each performance index. Three test administration periods are considered for accountability purposes:

STAAR results included in the subset of district/campus accountability

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

EOC summer 2015 administration

Fall 2014 enrollment snapshot

EOC fall 2015 administration

Fall 2015 enrollment snapshot

EOC spring 2016 administration

Grades 3–8 spring 2016 administration

The 2016 accountability subset rules apply to the STAAR performance results evaluated across all four indices.

Grades 3–8 Scenarios

Districts and campuses are responsible for students reported as enrolled in the fall (referred to as October snapshot) in the spring assessment results.

A student was reported as enrolled in fall 2015 snapshot (October 30) at

The student took the spring 2016 STAAR at

The campus that receives the result is

Does the result meet the accountability subset?

Campus A

Campus A

Campus A

Yes

Campus A

Campus B

Campus B

No

EOC Scenarios

Districts and campuses are responsible for

  • summer 2015 results for students reported as enrolled in fall 2014 snapshot;
  • fall 2015 results for students reported as enrolled in the fall 2015 snapshot; and
  • spring 2016 results for students reported as enrolled in the fall 2015 snapshot.

If a student was enrolled on fall enrollment snapshot at

The student took

The campus that receives the result is

Does the result meet the accountability subset?

Campus A (Fall 2014)

Summer 2015 EOC at Campus A

Campus A

Yes

Campus A (Fall 2015)

Spring 2016 EOC at  Campus B

Campus B

No

STAAR Retests and Mobility (SSI & EOC)

Q: 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?

A: The retest is used for District A’s accountability because it is the best assessment outcome for the student. The failed test from the first administration at District B is not used for accountability for District A or B. 

Grades 5 and 8 SSI Assessment Accountability Subset Scenarios

A student was enrolled on Fall 2015 enrollment snapshot (October 30) at

The student took the March 2016 STAAR at

The campus that receives the March 2016 STAAR  result is

Does the result meet the subset?

The student took the May 2016 STAAR at

The campus that receives the May 2016 STAAR result is

Does the result meet the subset?

Campus A

Campus A

Campus A

Yes

Campus A

Campus A

Yes

Campus A

Campus B

Campus B

No

Campus B

Campus B

No

Campus A

Campus A

Campus A

Yes

Campus B

Campus B

No

Campus A

Campus B

Campus B

No

Campus A

Campus A

Yes

Q: 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 31, 2014), 2) fall results for students enrolled on the fall enrollment snapshot date (October 30, 2015), 3) spring results for students enrolled on the fall enrollment snapshot date (October 30, 2015). The table below describes the 2016 subset criteria for EOC tests and retests.

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

The following STAAR results are included in that district’s/campus’s accountability subset:

Fall 2014 enrollment snapshot (October 31)

EOC summer 2015 administration

Fall 2015 enrollment snapshot (October 30)

EOC fall 2015 administration

EOC spring 2016 administration

Please see the Subset Scenarios for detailed scenarios regarding retests. 

STAAR EOC Accountability Subset Scenarios

A student was enrolled on Fall 2014 enrollment snapshot (October 31) at

The student took the Summer 2015 EOC at

The campus that receives the result is

Does the result meet the accountability subset?

Campus A

Campus A

Campus A

Yes

Campus A

Campus B

Campus B

No

 

A student was enrolled on Fall 2015 enrollment snapshot (October 30) at

The student took the Fall 2015 EOC at

The campus that receives the result is

Does the result meet the accountability subset?

Campus A

Campus A

Campus A

Yes

Campus A

Campus B

Campus B

No


Q: How are students included in the accountability subset who move between the March English I/English II EOC and May EOC administrations?

A: English I and English II EOC assessment results are assigned to the same campus as a May EOC assessment result. The campus at which the student tested in May receives the March English I and English II EOC results. To meet the accountability subset, the student must have been administered the May assessment at the same campus at which they were enrolled on fall snapshot.

If the student took an English I or II EOC in March but did not take an EOC in May, the March result will be reported to the March testing campus, even if the student moved between March and May.


A student was enrolled on Fall 2015 enrollment snapshot (October 30) at

The student took March 2016 EOC at

The student took May 2016 EOC at

The campus that receives the result is

Do the results meet the accountability subset?

Campus A

Campus A

Campus A

Campus A

Yes

Campus A

Campus B

Campus B

Campus B

No

Campus A

Campus A

Campus B

Campus B

No

Campus A

Campus B

Campus A

Campus A

Yes

Campus A

Campus A

Did not test

Campus A

Yes

 

2016 Performance Index Framework

Q: What is the purpose of Index 1: Student Achievement?

A: The purpose of Index 1 is to provide a snapshot of performance across all subjects. In 2016, Index 1 is based on the percentage of assessments that meet or exceed the Level II Satisfactory Standard, meet or exceed the English Language Learner (ELL) progress measure, or achieve the equivalency standard on end-of-course (EOC) substitute assessments. The index points awarded are equal to the percentage of assessments meeting the satisfactory standard.

Q: What is the purpose of Index 2: Student Progress?

A: Index 2 measures student progress and provides an opportunity for districts and campuses to receive credit for improving student performance independent of the student’s pass/fail status on STAAR. This index measures progress in reading/English language arts and mathematics by student demographic categories: race/ethnicity, current and monitored ELLs, and special education.

Q: What is the STAAR progress measure?

A: 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, Met, or Exceeded Progress.

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

Q: Why didn’t a student get a progress measure according to my calculations?

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

Q: What is the ELL progress measure?

A: 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://tea.texas.gov/student.assessment/ell/.

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

A: 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.

Q: Does Index 3 compare the lowest-performing student group to the highest-performing student group?

A: 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.

Q: How are the two lowest racial/ethnic groups determined?

A: 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) across all subjects in the previous year.
  • 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.

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

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

Q: What is the purpose of Index 4: Postsecondary Readiness?

A: 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, as well as graduation rates, graduation plans, and a postsecondary component. See Chapter 4 – Performance Index Indicators in the 2016 Accountability Manual for more information.  

Q: 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?

A: Yes, for 2016, Foundation High School Plan with an Endorsement (FHSP-E) or Foundation High School Plan with a Distinguished Level of Achievement (FHSP-DLA) graduates will be included in the graduation plan component of Index 4. The four-year longitudinal graduation plan rate indicator uses the higher of two rates comprised of students who graduate with Recommended High School Plan (RHSP) or Distinguished Achievement Plan (DAP) compared to students who graduate with RHSP or DAP or Foundation High School Plan with an Endorsement (FHSP-E) or Foundation High School Plan with a Distinguished Level of Achievement (FHSP-DLA).

Q: 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: A student who takes only one exam is counted if he or she meets Final Level II on that exam.

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

A: The CTE coherent sequence status comes from the summer 2015 PEIMS 400 record that includes basic attendance data. See Appendix K – Data Sources of the 2016 Accountability Manual or the PEIMS Data Standards for more details.

Alternative Education Accountability (AEA) 

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

A: 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.

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

A: To be eligible to be evaluated under AEA a provisions, an AEC must meet the criteria outlined on pages 74–75 in Chapter 6 – Other Accountability System Processes of the 2016 Accountability Manual.

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 March 28–April 8, 2016.

See Chapter 6 – Other Accountability System Processes in the 2016 Accountability Manual for additional details.

English Language Learners (ELLs)

Q: How are STAAR results for ELLs included in each of the four indices?

A: Please refer to Appendix I - Inclusion of ELLs in 2016 of the 2016 Accountability Manual for a complete description of how ELLs are included in the STAAR components of 2016 accountability.

Q: Are ELL students’ test results included in system safeguards?

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

Q: Are STAAR L results included in the 2016 accountability ratings?

A: 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.

Q: For grades 3–8 under 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?

A: 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 2016 of the 2016 Accountability Manual for more information.

Q: 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?

A: 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 2016 of the 2016 Accountability Manual for more information.

Special Issues

Q: Are STAAR results for foreign exchange students used in accountability?

A: 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.

Q: Will writing be included in 2016 accountability?

A: Yes. Writing will be included in accountability calculations; however, due to changes in writing assessments in grades 4 and 7, no STAAR progress measures will be available for grade 7 writing. Because of this, Index 2 scores will not include writing.

Algebra I EOC in Middle School

Q: If a middle school student takes the Algebra I EOC, at which campus are the results included for accountability?

A: The assessment results will be reported as Algebra I on accountability reports to the campus identified in the test header. Generally, this is the campus at which the student is currently enrolled.

Q: Which assessment is included in accountability if an 8th grade student takes the grade 8 mathematics STAAR and the Algebra I EOC? Which campus is held accountable?

A: If a student takes both the Algebra I EOC and grade 8 STAAR mathematics assessments, only the Algebra I EOC test result will be used in accountability calculations. The results will be reported as Algebra I on accountability reports to the campus identified in the test header. Generally, this is the campus at which the student is currently enrolled.

Q: If a student at the middle school doesn’t pass the Algebra I EOC and retests during the summer, which campus is credited for the retest?

A: If the student meets the standard on the retest, the result will be included in the accountability calculations for the middle school in the next accountability cycle. If the student fails and retests again during the fall, the result will be included in the accountability calculations for the campus at which he or she is enrolled in the fall.

Minimum Size

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

A: The minimum size for the All Students group for each of the indices is 10. Small-numbers analysis is conducted for Indices 2, 3 and 4 to determine the accountability rating of districts and campuses if the All Students group consists of fewer than 10 tests. Indices 2, 3, and 4 have a minimum size requirement of 25 students for each student group.

Q: What is small-numbers analysis and when is it used?

A: Small-numbers analysis is a process to determine if a rating is appropriate for small districts and campuses that do not meet minimum-size criteria using current year data. See the 2016 Accountability Manual and the Small Numbers Analysis flowcharts for more details.

Q: 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?

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

System Safeguards

Q: What are System Safeguards?

A: 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 2016 Accountability Manual for detailed information about system safeguards in 2016.

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

A: See Chapter 8 – System Safeguards and Other Federal Requirements in the 2016 Accountability Manual for details on minimum size. 

Q: Are there two different targets for state and federal performance safeguards? 

A: Yes, see Chapter 8 – System Safeguards and Other Federal Requirements of the 2016 Accountability Manual for the targets for STAAR performance for the state and federal safeguards.

Distinction Designations

Q: What are Distinction Designations?

A: Distinction designations are awarded to campuses for outstanding performance in relation to 40 other similar campuses of similar type, size, grade span, and student demographics. A campus that receives an accountability rating of Met Standard is eligible for the following distinction designations in 2016. Districts that earn a rating of Met Standard are eligible for a distinction designation in postsecondary readiness.

For 2016, distinction designations are awarded in the following areas:

  • Academic Achievement in English Language Arts/Reading (campus only)
  • Academic Achievement in Mathematics(campus only)
  • Academic Achievement in Science (campus only)
  • Academic Achievement in Social Studies (campus only)
  • Top 25 Percent: Student Progress (campus only)
  • Top 25 Percent: Closing Performance Gaps (campus only)
  • Postsecondary Readiness (district and campus)

A campus earns a distinction designation if it is in the top quartile (Q1) of its comparison group for at least 33 percent (for high schools and K–12 campuses) or 50 percent (for elementary and middle schools) of the indicators used to award the distinction.

  • For an indicator to be used to evaluate campuses for a distinction designation, at least 20 campuses in the comparison group must have data for that indicator. If fewer than 20 campuses have data for an indicator, it cannot be used to evaluate campuses for the distinction. This often affects schools with non-traditional grade spans.
  • Schools will not have access to the performance data of other schools until the public release on September 16 and will not know where they rank in their comparison groups until distinction designations are released through TEASE on September 16.

For details on how campus comparison groups are determined, see Appendix H – Campus Comparison Groups.

Q: When do schools receive their distinction designations?

A: Distinction designations are assigned to eligible campuses on September 16, 2016. The 2016 campus comparison groups are also publicly released at this time.

Q: Are alternative education campuses (AECs) eligible for Distinction Designations?

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

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

A: The Algebra I by Grade 8–Participation indicator limits the denominator to 8th grade students based on 2015 PEIMS fall enrollment. The numerator is Algebra I assessments taken in either the current or any prior school year as reported as reported on the Consolidated Accountability File (CAF) cumulative history section.

Q: What is a campus comparison group?

A: 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 2016 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. See Appendix H – Campus Comparison Groups of the 2016 Accountability Manual for more details.

Q: Can a district earn a distinction designation in postsecondary readiness if any of its campuses are rated Improvement Required?

A: Yes, as long as the district itself received a Met Standard rating. 

Q: 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. => 350 on the mathematics Texas Success Initiative assessment and => 25 English and Composite ACT)?

A: Yes, this is the College-Ready Graduates indicator gives credit for students who meet the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) standards on a Texas Success Initiative assessment (TSIA), SAT, or ACT within the respective subject area. To be included, the student must meet the standards in both ELA and mathematics. 

2016 Accountability Development

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

A: 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.

Q: Who helped TEA develop the state accountability rating system?

A: 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 2016 Accountability Development Materials site.

Q: Who are the members of the APAC and ATAC advisory groups?

A: The 2016 Accountability Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) includes representatives from legislative offices, school districts, the business community, and parent of children attending Texas public schools.  

Members of the 2016 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.

Technical Information

Q: 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?

A: 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.

Q: 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?

A: 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 at http://tea.texas.gov/acctres/dropcomp_index.html#reports.

Q: 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?

A: 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.”

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

A: Years in U.S. schools is based on 2016 TELPAS data. If information on years in U.S. schools does not exist, results are included with a value of 5 years.

Q: How does a district or campus identify immigrants entering grade 9 or above?

A: The enrolled grade-level reported on the fall 2015 PEIMS enrollment submission, the STAAR EOC test, and the number of years of enrollment in U.S. schools reported on the 2016 TELPAS determine whether or not an ELL student is considered an "immigrant entering grade 9 or above." See Appendix I - Inclusion of ELLs in 2016 of the 2016 Accountability Manual for more information.

District Posting Requirements

Q: What does the district need to provide to the public regarding the ratings?

A: 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.