AUSTIN – The Texas Education Agency (TEA) Friday announced that 239 school districts and 2,624 schools received Texas’ highest accountability rating of Exemplary.
To earn this rating, at least 90 percent of a district’s or school’s students passed the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), 95 percent of high school students either graduated on time or continued high school for a fifth year, and the district had an annual middle school dropout rate of 1.8 percent or less. A district or campus could earn this rating by meeting the absolute standards or by using the Texas Projection Measure (TPM) or exceptions. Special measures can only be used to move up one rating category.
The second highest rating of Recognized was received by 597 districts and 3,153 schools.
More rigorous standards were implemented this year to determine the state’s Recognized rating. The new standards require 80 percent of all students and each evaluated student group to pass the TAKS, compared to 75 percent in previous years. Additionally, the school or district must achieve an 85 percent completion rate and must now have an annual seventh and eighth-grade dropout rate of 1.8 percent or below. The previous seventh and eighth-grade dropout rate requirement was 2 percent.
“Many schools and districts earned one of the top ratings by meeting the absolute rating criteria and did not use a progress measure or an exception. That is because the TAKS passing rates and completion rates went up across the state in 2010, while dropout rates for grades 7-12 declined compared to the previous year. We saw real progress in our schools this year,” Commissioner of Education Robert Scott said.
“However, a number of schools and districts did use progress measures or exceptions to move up one rating category, which is allowable under the state accountability system. We understand that some people have concerns with these measures, particularly with the Texas Projection Measure.
“TPM is a complex regression analysis but I believe it be reliable. Nonetheless, I am willing to re-examine its use because we want the public to have complete faith in the school ratings,” the commissioner said.
For 2011 state accountability, Scott said he is considering several options for changes in the use of TPM to ensure that student performance is acknowledged and to ensure that the state accountability system remains transparent. Proposals under consideration include the following:
- Suspension of the use of TPM for accountability ratings.
- Continued use of TPM in state accountability, but only for districts that elect to use it.
- Modifications to the calculation of TPM and/or its use to include additional safeguards, such as:
- applying performance floors;
- counting each student who fails but is projected to pass as a fraction of a passer;
- prohibiting TPM to be used for the same measure in a subsequent year;
- limiting the number of measures for which TPM can be used in a given year; and
- limiting which rating categories can use it.
The commissioner is expected to make a decision about the future use of TPM this spring.
Just as with the two top rating categories, some districts and campuses used the special provisions to receive an Academically Acceptable rating. Overall, 298 districts and 1,456 schools received an Academically Acceptable rating under standard accountability procedures. Most earned the rating this year by meeting the absolute standards, which increased by 5 percentage points for science and math.
Forty-five districts and 125 schools received the lowest rating called Academically Unacceptable. They received this rating under standard accountability procedures if they had TAKS passing rates for any student group or their total student population below 70 percent for reading/English language arts, writing or social studies or below 60 percent for mathematics or 55 percent for science. A completion rate lower than 75 percent or an annual seventh and eighth-grade dropout rate higher than 1.8 percent would also result in an Academically Unacceptable rating.
Below are the number of districts or campuses that received each rating in either the standard or Alternative Education Accountability (AEA) procedures. The numbers in parenthesis are those districts or campuses that earned the rating by meeting the absolute standards and who did not use Required Improvement, the Texas Projection Measure or exceptions to achieve the rating.
- Exemplary – 239 (72)
- Recognized – 597 (77)
- Academically Acceptable – 298 (211)
- AEA: Academically Acceptable – 48 (46)
- Academically Unacceptable – 30
- AEA: Academically Unacceptable – 15
- Not rated for a variety of reasons – 10
- Exemplary – 2,624 (1,159)
- Recognized – 3,153 (748)
- Academically Acceptable – 1,456 (874)
- AEA: Academically Acceptable – 430 (405)
- Academically Unacceptable – 101
- AEA: Academically Unacceptable – 24
- Not rated for a variety of reasons – 647
To show the direction area schools are moving, here is some information about past ratings:
Cisco High School and elementary school received the Exemplary status for the 2nd year in a row.
Eastland High School who earned an Academically Acceptable status in 2007 has maintained their Recognized status since then even with the bar having been raised slightly this year to obtain that status.
Ranger High School last received a Recognized status in 2004 and has maintained an Academically Acceptable status every year since then.
Strawn dropped to an Academically Unacceptable status in 2007 but has moved up to Academically Acceptable in 2008 and for the last two years has mainted their Recognized status.
Gordon receiving an Academically Acceptable status in 2007, moved up to Recognized status in 2008, Exemplary status in 2009, and has obtained the Recognized status this year.
Microplex Area Schools:
Cisco High School – Exemplary
Cisco Learning Center – AEA: Academically Acceptable
Cisco Junior High – Recognized
Cisco Elementary – Exemplary
Eastland High School – Recognized
Eastland Care Campus – AEA: Academically Acceptable
Eastland Middle School – Recognized
Siebert Elementary – Academically Acceptable
Ranger High School – Academically Acceptable
Ranger Middle School – Recognized
Ranger Elemenary – Academically Acceptable
Gordon School – Recognized
Strawn School – Recognized