College Admissions Testing Glossary of Terms, Class of 2011

ACT composite score
The composite score is calculated as the average of the scores received on the four required sections of the ACT—English, mathematics, reading, and science—rounded to the nearest whole number. The optional writing section is not included in the composite score calculation.

ACT examination
The ACT is a curriculum-based, college readiness test that assesses what students learn in their classes; similar to an achievement test.

Average score
An average SAT or ACT score is the mean score for a given group on a given examination or examination section. As an example, the average ACT composite score for all graduating examinees in Texas public schools is calculated as follows:


the sum of composite ACT scores received
by all graduating ACT examinees in Texas public schools
 the number of graduating ACT examinees in Texas public schools 


Average ACT scores are rounded to the first decimal place, and average SAT scores are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Criterion score
Through 2011, the Gold Performance Acknowledgment (GPA) system acknowledged Texas school districts and campuses for high performance on indicators other than those used to determine accountability ratings. Under the SAT/ACT GPA indicator, the criterion for the SAT was a score of 1110 or higher on the critical reading and mathematics sections combined, and the criterion for the ACT was a composite score of 24 or higher. The percentage of graduating examinees scoring at or above criterion on either test was calculated as follows:


the number of graduating examinees who scored
at or above criterion on either or both examinations
               the number of graduating examinees               


Economically disadvantaged
Under Texas Education Agency (TEA) guidelines, a student is identified as economically disadvantaged if he or she is eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch and Child Nutrition Program.

Examinee
Although a student may take the SAT and/or ACT before senior year in high school, results are not reported to TEA by the College Board and ACT, Inc., until the year the student is expected to graduate. Consequently, Texas public school results for a given year are based only on data for examinees reported by the testing companies as expected to graduate that year.

Gold Performance Acknowledgement
Through 2011, the Gold Performance Acknowledgment (GPA) system acknowledged Texas school districts and campuses for high performance on indicators other than those used to determine accountability ratings. The SAT/ACT GPA indicator required that at least 70 percent of non-special education graduates take the SAT or ACT and at least 40 percent of graduating examinees score at least 1110 on the SAT or 24 on the ACT.

Graduates
A student is classified as a graduate in the year in which he or she is reported in the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) as having graduated from the Texas public school system. For instance, students who graduated in 2010-11 must have done so by August 31, 2011, to be included in 2010-11 graduate counts. The number of non-special education graduates is used as the denominator in calculations of examination participation rates. The number of non-special education graduates is calculated as the total number of graduates minus the number of special education graduates, where a special education graduate is one who graduated under a graduation plan for students with disabilities or received special education services his or her entire senior year.

Graduation year
The percentages of Texas public school graduates who participate in the SAT, the ACT, or both examinations are calculated using the numbers of examinees reported by the testing companies and the number of graduates reported in PEIMS. The testing companies use student-reported information, including expected year of graduation, to determine whether to include examinees' scores in that reporting year. PEIMS uses the actual year of graduation reported by school districts after students have graduated. Because examinees who are reported by the testing companies to have graduated in any given year may not have actually done so, the difference in reporting methods can result in imprecise participation rates.

Participation rate
Participation rates for Texas public school graduates are presented for the SAT and ACT separately, as well as for the two examinations combined. When combined results are presented, data for an individual who took both examinations are counted only once. Participation rates are calculated as follows:


the number of graduating examinees
 the number of non-special education graduates 


Note that, although special education graduates are included in the numerator if they took either the SAT or ACT, they are not included in the denominator.

SAT and ACT participation rates for public and nonpublic school graduates combined in Texas, other states, and the United States were obtained from the College Board and ACT, Inc., respectively. The denominators in these calculations are estimated counts of graduating seniors taken from Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates by State and Race/Ethnicity, 1992 to 2022, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, March 2008. Special education students are included in both the numerator and denominator.

Race/ethnicity

ACT, Inc.

ACT, Inc., uses the Student Profile Section (SPS) and the ACT examination answer form to obtain self-reported demographic information, such as race/ethnicity. The SPS is completed when students register for the ACT examination.

Prior to 2010-11, ACT, Inc., reported the following five racial/ethnic categories: African American, American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and White.

In 2010-11, ACT, Inc., began reporting the following seven categories:

1. African American
2. American Indian
3. Asian
4. Hispanic
5. Pacific Islander
6. White
7. Two or more races

College Board

The College Board uses the SAT Questionnaire to obtain self-reported demographic information, such as race/ethnicity. The questionnaire is completed when students register for the SAT examination. Although the ACT and TEA racial/ethnic categories have recently changed, the College Board's categories have remained the same. Following are the racial/ethnic categories reported by the College Board:

1. American Indian
2. Asian
3. Black
4. Hispanic Overall
    a. Mexican American
    b. Puerto Rican
    c. Other Hispanic
5. White
6. Other

Texas Education Agency

School districts submit student demographic information to TEA through PEIMS. Prior to the 2009-10 school year, TEA required that districts submit one of five racial/ethnic categories for each student: American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian or Pacific Islander; Black or African American (not of Hispanic origin); Hispanic/Latino; or White (not of Hispanic origin).

In 2009-10, TEA began collecting data on race and ethnicity in compliance with a new federal standard. For that year only, as a transitional measure, the data also were collected using the old standard. The new standard requires that race and ethnicity be collected separately using a specific two-part question, presented in a specific order, and that both parts of the question be answered.

Part 1. Ethnicity: Is the person Hispanic/Latino? Choose only one.

  • Hispanic/Latino
  • Not Hispanic/Latino

Part 2. Race: What is the person's race? Choose one or more, regardless of ethnicity.

  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • White

The racial/ethnic categories are defined as follows. Hispanic includes students of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. American Indian or Alaska Native includes students having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintain a tribal affiliation or community attachment. Asian includes students having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. Black or African American includes students having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander includes students having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. White includes students having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

The new standard resulted in several important changes: (a) the combined racial category Asian/Pacific Islander is now separated into two categories; (b) students once identified exclusively as "Hispanic/Latino" must now report their race; (c) students may report more than one race; and (d) the definition for one of the racial categories—American Indian or Alaska Native—differs from that used in years past. Prior to 2009-10, American Indian or Alaska Native included students having origins in any of the original peoples of North America only.

For purposes of reporting Texas public school SAT and ACT data, TEA combines the answers to the two-part question to create seven mutually exclusive racial/ethnic categories. A student identified as Hispanic is included only in the count for Hispanics. A student not identified as Hispanic is included in the count for only one of the following six racial categories: African American, American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander, White, or multiracial. A student identified as having two or more races is included only in the count for multiracial students, not in the count for any single racial category.

SAT examination
The SAT is a curriculum-based, college readiness test that assesses the academic skills and knowledge students acquire in high school and the ability to apply that knowledge.



Copyright Information
SAT is a trademark of the College Board, and ACT is a trademark of ACT, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Contact Information
For questions or comments, please e-mail the Division of Research and Analysis, Accountability Research Unit, or contact the unit by phone at 512-475-3523.

This page last updated January 31, 2014.


 
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