Q: How is a rating label determined for 2014?
A: With a performance index, each measure contributes points to an index score. Each of the four indexes has a score of 0 to 100 representing campus or district performance points as a percent of the maximum possible points for that campus or district.
- Met Standard: Assigned to districts and campuses that meet performance index targets on all indexes for which they have performance data in 2014.
- Met Alternative Standard: Assigned to charter operators and alternative education campuses (AECs) evaluated under alternative education accountability (AEA) provisions that meet modified performance index targets on all indexes for which they have performance data in 2014.
- Improvement Required: Assigned to a district or campus that did not meet one or more performance index targets in 2014.
Q: What are the accountability targets for 2014?
A: To receive a Met Standard or Met Alternative Standard rating, all campuses and districts must meet the accountability targets on all indexes for which they have performance data in 2014. The targets for Index 1 and 4 are provided in Chapter 2 of the 2014 Accountability Manual. The targets for Index 2 and 3 are provided in Appendix L.
Q: Are all districts and campuses rated in 2014, including new campuses?
A: All public school campuses, including alternative education campuses (AECs) and open-enrollment charter schools are evaluated. New campuses and new open-enrollment charter schools are evaluated the first year they report fall enrollment.
Q: What if a campus does not have data for an Index?
A: In some instances, a campus may not have data necessary to calculate an index score, due to lack of students or grade-level configurations. These campuses and districts receive an accountability rating based on all indexes for which they have performance data in 2014.
Q: When do schools receive their accountability ratings?
A: All schools and districts are rated under the accountability system in 2014, and receive those ratings on August 8, 2014.
Q: All the campuses in our district are rated Met Standard but the district is rated Improvement Required. How can that be?
A: It is often the case that individual schools have a higher rating than their district. Any one of a number of situations may explain it:
- First of all, there are fewer students at the school level. That is, while schools and districts are held accountable for the performance of all students, the individual student groups must meet a minimum size to be considered in the ratings system. For that reason, an elementary school might be judged on two or three student groups because it had very few students taking the STAAR. On the other hand, at the district level, where all grades are summed together, there may be enough students in each group to meet the minimum size. In that case, the district is held accountable for the performance of more student groups.
- Second, students who move from campus to campus within the same district during the school year may have their results removed from each campus's performance. However, their results are included in the district's performance. This is referred to as the Accountability Subset. See the 2014 Accountability Manual for more information.
- Third, elementary and middle schools are not accountable for the graduation rate part of Index 4, while most districts are.
2014 Performance Index Framework
Q: What is the purpose of Index 1: Student Achievement?
A: The purpose of this index is to provide a snapshot of performance across subjects, on both general and alternative assessments, at the satisfactory performance standard. In 2014, Index 1 is based on the STAAR results at the phase-in 1 Level II passing standard.
Q: What is the purpose of Index 2: Student Progress?
A: The purpose of this index is to provide a measure of student progress by subject and student group independent of overall student achievement levels. In 2014 growth is evaluated by subject (reading and mathematics, where available) and student group (All Students, African American, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, White, Two or More Races, Special Education, and ELLs).
Q: What is the STAAR Progress Measure?
A: The growth measure is based on a change score that is the difference between the student's current and prior year scores. Students are assigned to one of three growth categories based on change in scale score in relation to growth expectations: Did Not Meet Growth Expectation, Met Growth Expectation, and Exceeded Growth Expectation. Details concerning the STAAR Progress Measure can be viewed online on the Student Assessment website.
Q: What is the ELL Progress Measure?
A: The English Language Learner (ELL) Progress Measure is reported for ELL students. 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.
Information on how to calculate an ELL Progress Measure can be found at the Student Assessment/State Assessments for English Language Learners website in the General Resources section. See: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/ell/. A Questions and Answers document on the ELL Measure is posted at the same location.
Q: Why is the target for Index 2 and 3 set at the 5th percentile?
A: The Index 2 performance standard for non-AEA districts and campuses is based on the fifth percentile because STAAR Modified, STAAR Alternate, and the ELL Progress Measure are included for the first time in 2014.
The Index 3 performance standard is based on the fifth percentile because the ELL Progress Measure is included for the first time in 2014.
Q: Why is Index 2 not evaluated for high schools/K-12 and AEA?
A: High schools/K-12 campuses have a limited number of assessments with a progress measure in 2014. This is due to recent legislation which reduced the number of end-of-course (EOC) assessments required for graduation, as well as the requirement to combine the STAAR English I and English II reading and writing assessments into a single English I and English II assessment. Progress measures for students tested on English I and English II are expected in 2015; therefore, Index 2 evaluation of these campuses will resume in 2015.
Q: Are STAAR and ELL Progress Measure results for high schools and K-12 campuses included in Index 2 for districts?
A: Yes, schools categorized as high school or K-12 are not rated for Index 2. However, if they have progress measure results, that performance is included in determining Index 2 for the district.
Q: What is the target for Index 2?
A: Index 2 targets cannot be set until performance on the progress measure is known for every school and district. At that time, the 5th percentile is determined by school type and district. Targets are set for Index 2, for each of the following: elementary schools, middle/jr high schools, and districts.
Q: Is there a different target for each of the 10 student groups in Index 2?
A: No, like other indexes, the target is a single index score. To determine the 5th percentile target, only the overall score for Index 2 is used.
Q: What is the purpose of Index 3: Closing Performance Gaps?
A: The purpose of this index is to emphasize advanced academic achievement of the economically disadvantaged student group and the lowest performing race/ethnicity student groups at each campus or district.
Q: What is the target for Index 3?
A: Index 3 targets cannot be set until performance on STAAR is known for every school and district. At that time, the 5th percentile is determined by school type and district. Targets are set for Index 3 for each of the following: elementary schools; middle/jr high schools; high schools/K-12; and districts. A separate target is set for AEA schools and districts.
Q: Should Index 3 compare the lowest performing student groups to the highest performing student groups?
A: There are two approaches to evaluating progress toward closing performance gaps. One approach is to compare the performance of the lower performing student group to the performance of a higher performing student group over time. The other approach is to compare the performance of the lower performing student group to an external target that does not change every year.
Index 3 is designed to compare the performance of the lower performing student group to an external target. The external target is one that allows the state to meet the statutory and accountability goal that Texas will be among the top ten states in postsecondary readiness by 2020 with no significant achievement gaps by race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Index 3 was also designed as a weighted performance index that sets the performance expectation at the STAAR Level III advanced performance standard.
Q: How are the two lowest race/ethnicity groups determined?
A: The following criteria are used to identify the prior-year race/ethnicity student groups for Index 3:
- Identify the Race/Ethnicity student groups that have 25 or more tests in reading/ELA and
25 or more tests in mathematics from the prior year (2012-13);
- Select the lowest performing student group(s) that meet the above minimum size criteria
based on prior year (2012-13) results for All Subjects.
Q: In Index 3, can special education and ELL student groups be considered in the lowest performance student groups?
A: No, the ELL and special education student groups are not included in Index 3 as a potential lowest performing student group.
Q: What is the purpose of Index 4: Postsecondary Readiness?
A: The purpose of Index 4 is to emphasize the importance that students be prepared for success in college, the workforce, job training programs, or the military. For high schools, this means achieving a high graduation rate and high performance on other postsecondary readiness measure. For elementary and middle schools this means preparing students for the rigors of high school.
Q: For Index 4, will the Recommended High School Program (RHSP)/Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP) calculation use the longitudinal cohort?
A: Yes. Beginning in 2014, the four-year longitudinal cohort for the class of 2013 replaces the RHSP/DAP annual rate.
Q: Do students count toward the postsecondary readiness component of Index 4 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)?
A: Yes. This is the College-Ready Graduates indicator that has been reported in TAPR/AEIS for a number of years. It gives credit for students who meet the TSI standards on TAKS, SAT, or ACT within the respective subject area. To be included the student must meet the standards in both ELA and mathematics.
Q: The STAAR Component of Index 4 requires students to meet Final Level II on two or more subjects. What about students who only take one exam?
A: Students who take only one exam are counted if they meet Final Level II on that exam.
Below are a few examples showing the application of the STAAR component of Index 4:
1. An 11th-grade student only takes the U.S. History EOC and scores at Final Level II. Since this student scored at Final Level II on their sole EOC, they are 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. Since 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 in one of the subjects. This student did not score at Final Level II on both of their subject exams and is included in the denominator, but not in the numerator.
Alternative Education Accountability
Q: What are alternative education campuses and how are they assigned ratings in 2014?
A: Alternative education accountability procedures for campuses serving at-risk students were first implemented in the 1995-96 school year. Over time, procedures expanded to include charters that served large populations of at-risk students. Accountability advisory groups consistently recommend evaluating alternative education campuses (AECs) under separate and/or different procedures due to the large number of students served in alternative education programs on AECs and to ensure that all students demonstrate proficiency on the state assessments in order to graduate. For 2014, these schools and charter districts are not evaluated for Index 2 but must meet AEA targets on Indexes 1, 3, and 4.
STAAR Retests and Mobility (SSI)
Q: How are the STAAR grades 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 includes reading and mathematics test results from the first and second administration. The best test result in each subject is used if it is in the accountability subset. The subset includes test results for students who were enrolled in the campus or district in the fall as reported on the PEIMS October snapshot date and tested in the same campus or district in the spring.
Q: If an SSI student is enrolled in District A at snapshot, moves to District B and fails the first administration of an exam, then moves back to District A and passes the retest of that exam, is the retest counted for District A?
A: The retest is used for District A's accountability. The failed test at District B is not used for accountability for District A or B.
Q: Are grade 5 and 8 STAAR results from the May retest administration included in accountability?
STAAR Retests and Mobility (EOC)
Q: How are STAAR EOC retest results included in the performance index results?
A: Districts and campuses are accountable for three EOC test administrations: 1) summer results for students enrolled on the prior year fall enrollment snapshot (Oct. 26, 2012), 2) fall results for students enrolled on the fall enrollment snapshot (Oct. 25, 2013), 3) spring results for students enrolled on the fall enrollment snapshot (Oct. 25, 2013). The table below describes the 2014 subset criteria for EOC tests and retests.
If a student was enrolled on the campus/district on this date:
Then these results are included in the
campus/district accountability subset:
Oct. 26, 2012 enrollment snapshot
EOC summer 2013 administration
Oct. 25, 2013 enrollment snapshot
EOC fall 2013 administration
EOC spring 2014 administration
Please see Index 4 Scenarios for detailed scenarios regarding the inclusion of EOC results in the STAAR component of Index 4.
English Language Learners (ELL)
Q: How are ELL students included in 2014?
A: In 2014 year 2 through year 4 ELL students are included for accountability, as described in Appendix I of the 2014 Accountability Manual.
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 2014 accountability ratings?
A: Yes, but only in Index 1. Performance on the linguistically-accommodated version of the STAAR is not included in the calculations for Indexes 2, 3, or 4.
Q: How is the rating for districts with only one campus determined?
A: The 2014 accountability ratings for districts or charter districts with only one campus are based on the campus target by campus type. For example, a district that has one high school or K-12 campus is evaluated on the same performance results as the single campus; therefore, the index targets that are applicable to the campus are applied to the district. This process ensures that both the district and campus receive the same 2014 accountability rating outcome based on the same data.
For Index 3, specifically, the 2014 targets for non-AEA campuses were set at about the fifth percentile of the 2014 Index 3 outcomes for the following campus types: elementary, middle, and high school/K-12 campuses. The 2014 targets for non-AEA districts and charters were set at about the fifth percentile of 2014 Index 3 outcomes across all campus types. Therefore, the Index 3 targets that are applicable to a district or charter district with a single campus are the targets applicable to the specific campus type (elementary, middle, or high school/K-12), rather than the targets that are based on the Index 3 outcomes determined across all campus types.
Additionally, while the campus is eligible to earn Campus Distinction Designations, the district or charter district is not eligible to earn the District Postsecondary Distinction Designation. The reasoning is because a district must have more than one campus qualifying in order to receive the distinction.
Q: Will the accountability system include an index-based Required Improvement?
A: Required Improvement will be considered for 2015 and beyond when the underlying indicators can be more appropriately used for year-to-year comparisons.
Q: How are results for students receiving special education services included in the 2014 accountability system?
A: The performance of students receiving special education services assessed on STAAR, STAAR Modified, or STAAR Alternate is included in the 2014 accountability system.
Q: Are STAAR results for foreign exchange students used in accountability?
A: Yes, if a foreign exchange student takes the STAAR, their performance counts toward the school's accountability rating.
Q: Are the summer and fall 2013 administrations of separate English I and II reading and writing tests included in accountability?
A: For Indexes 1 and 3, the reading portion of the English I and II assessments administered in summer and fall 2013 are combined with the EOC English I and II tests administered in spring 2014. The English I and English II writing tests administered in summer and fall 2013 are excluded from 2014 accountability.
Q: What are the minimum size requirements for a student group to be included in the performance index calculations?
A: There is a minimum size of 10 for the indexes. Campuses and districts with fewer than 10 in the All Students group undergo small numbers analysis to determine their rating. Indexes 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: 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 2014 Accountability Manual and the Small Numbers Analysis flowcharts for more details.
Q: What are System Safeguards?
A: With a performance index framework, poor performance in one subject or one student group does not necessarily result in an Improvement Required accountability rating. However, disaggregated performance is reported and districts and campuses are responsible for addressing performance for each subject and each student group. The underlying accountability system safeguards results are addressed through the Texas Accountability Intervention System (TAIS) to ensure that poor performance in one area or one student group is not masked in the performance index. Along with possible interventions, the intent of the safeguards system is to also meet additional federal accountability requirements that are not met in the performance index. See Chapter 8-System Safeguards and Other Federal Requirements of the 2014 Accountability Manual for additional information on System Safeguards.
Q: What are the minimum size requirements for student groups to be included in the system safeguards?
A: See Chapter 8 in the 2014 Accountability Manual for details on minimum size.
Q: Are there different targets for state and federal performance safeguards?
A: Yes. See Chapter 8 of the 2014 Accountability Manual for the state and federal performance rate targets for each subject area and student group.
Q: What are Distinction Designations?
A: Campuses that receive an accountability rating of Met Standard are eligible for the following distinction designations in 2014.
- Academic Achievement in Reading/English language arts
- Academic Achievement in Mathematics
- Academic Achievement in Science (new for 2014)
- Academic Achievement in Social Studies (new for 2014)
- Top 25% Student Progress
- Top 25% Closing Performance Gaps (new for 2014)
- Postsecondary Readiness (new for 2014)
In 2014 districts that earn a rating of Met Standard are eligible for a Postsecondary Readiness designation.
Q: Are alternative education campuses 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: What is a comparison group?
A: Campus distinction designations are based on campus performance in relation to a comparison group of campuses. Each campus is assigned to a unique comparison group of 40 other public schools (from anywhere in the state), that closely matches that school on the following characteristics: campus type, campus size, percent economically disadvantaged students, mobility rates (based on cumulative attendance), and percent of students with limited English proficiency. The 2014 campus comparison groups were posted online on June 6, 2014. See Appendix H of the 2014 Accountability Manual for more details.
Q: Can a district earn postsecondary readiness distinction if any of its campuses are rated
Q: When do schools receive their distinction designations?
A: Distinction designations are assigned to eligible campuses concurrent with the release of the state accountability ratings on August 8, 2014.
Q: If a student's reported race/ethnicity 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 race/ethnicity 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 ADA eligibility or other statutory requirements, is he/she 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.
Q: If a student is tested on STAAR with an enrolled grade level above 11 (for example, STAAR Alternate) is he/she excluded?
A: No, all STAAR results are used regardless of grade level, except for certain English Language Learners (Immigrants in grade 9 and above).
Q: Will a campus/district receive the pass/fail results for the STAAR U.S. History Modified test?
A: No, the spring STAAR Modified U.S. History test is an operational field test with no set passing standard.
Q: Is a partial (category 3) score on the STAAR Alternate test count as participation and included in performance?
A: Yes, this treatment is the same as last year.
Q: If a student is coded as a Special Education student or English Language Learner on any one test document, then is he/she 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: Is the 2013 TELPAS file used to determine the number of years an ELL student is enrolled in US schools?
A: Years in US schools are based on 2014 TELPAS data. If no information on years in US schools exists, results are included as if the value reported was 5 years.
Q: How does a campus/district identify Immigrants entering grade 9 or above?
A: Appendix I - Inclusion of ELLs in 2014 and Beyond of the 2014 Accountability Manual describes that the enrolled grade-level reported on the fall 2013 PEIMS enrollment submission and the STAAR EOC test, plus the number of years of enrollment in U.S. schools reported on 2014 TELPAS determine whether or not an ELL student is considered an "Immigrant entering grade 9 or above."
Q: For Index 4 processing of grades 3 through 8: If an ELL student takes one test in Spanish and one test in English, is only the Spanish test considered for Index 4 - in which case the student would have to meet Final Level II Standard to count?
A: Yes, ELL students 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 2014 and Beyond of the 2014 Accountability Manual for more information.
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 is minimum size based on only current ELLs?
A: For systems safeguards, the minimum size is based on the count of current ELL students.
Q: If a TELPAS scored reading test is the only assessment result a campus/district has for a student (who is not an asylee/refugee), is the student included in the math participation denominator?
Q: 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: 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.
2014 Accountability Development
Q: Why did Texas develop a performance index framework for public school accountability?
A: In the previous state accountability system, campuses and districts were required to meet criteria on up to 25 separate assessment measures (five subjects times five student groups), plus up to 10 dropout and high school completion measures in order to achieve the Academically Acceptable rating. Based on House Bill 3 (2009) requirements, separate indicators under the previous state accountability framework may have resulted in up to 100 separate measures. The performance index framework produces an index score for each of the four performance indexes evaluated for each campus and district. Performance on each index is evaluated against targets specific to each index. With a Performance Index, the resulting rating reflects overall performance for the campus or district rather than the weakest performance of one student group/subject area.
The performance index framework was selected by advisory committees to meet the House Bill 3 (2009) requirements for a more comprehensive accountability system focused on postsecondary readiness and closing achievement gaps. The new framework allows educators and the public to understand how their district or campus is performing on four indexes. The accountability reports provide an easy-to-understand summary of each school's performance on each index, including a graphical presentation of each index outcome relative to the accountability target.
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 race/ethnicity 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/campus evaluation that ensures that their lowest-performing student groups receive focused interventions.
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 poor performance in one area or one student group is not masked in the performance index.
Additionally, the previous state accountability systems only evaluated five student groups (All Students, White, Hispanic, African American, and Economically Disadvantaged). The new 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.
Q: Do other states use a performance index for the state accountability systems?
A: Yes, a number of states use different 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 that are in place in the following states: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Q: Who helped TEA develop the new state accountability rating system?
A: Between March 2012 and March 2013, 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 2013 Accountability Development Materials site.
Q: Who are the current members of the APAC and ATAC advisory groups?
A: In addition to educators representing campuses, school districts, and education service centers, the members of the 2014 Accountability Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) include legislative representatives, business and community leaders, representatives of higher education, and parents of children attending Texas public schools.
Members of the 2014 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.
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