The Texas Education Agency accountability ratings system rates all public schools, charter schools, and school districts in the State of Texas.
Accountability under STAAR
From 2012 to 2014, the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills was phased out and replaced by the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test in accordance with to Texas Senate Bill 1031.
Accountability under TAKS
Note: This ranking system stopped two years ago. Now schools are ranked by their performance on the STAAR Test.
The criteria are the same for schools and districts, and are discussed below. Based on how the school or district performs, the school or district will receive one of four possible rankings: Exemplary (the highest possible ranking), Recognized, Academically Acceptable, and Academically Unacceptable (the lowest possible ranking). In rare instances, the category Not Rated: Other will be used.
According to the agency, the number of state schools and districts receiving the top ratings of "exemplary" and "recognized" increased from 2,213 in 2005 to 3,380 in 2006 - a 52.73% increase over the previous year.
In order to receive an Exemplary rating, a school/district must meet all four of the following criteria:
- TAKS (TM) Test Passing - At least 90 percent of all students must pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test overall and on each of five subsections (Reading/ELA, Writing, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Science); in addition, each "subgroup" (African American, Hispanic, White, and Economically Disadvantaged) must also meet the 90 percent criterion overall and in each subsection (provided there are enough students to meet "minimum size" requirements)
- SDAA II Test Passing - At least 90 percent of all students must pass the State-Developed Alternative Assessment II (SDAA II) test, which is required for only those students for whom the TAKS test is not an acceptable measurement (subgroup criterion does not apply)
- Completion Rate - At least 95 percent of all students, as well as 95 percent of each subgroup listed under the TAKS test, must either have completed or are continuing their education four years after entering high school (this criterion applies to high schools and districts only)
- Dropout Rate - No more than 0.2 percent of all students, as well as no more than 0.2 percent of each subgroup, can have dropped out of school.
The criteria are 75 percent pass rate on TAKS and SDAA II (again, required for all students as well as each subgroup), 85 percent on Completion Rate, and 0.7 percent on Dropout Rate.
The criteria are 60 percent on TAKS Subsections "Social Studies", "Reading/ELA", and "Writing", 40 percent on "Mathematics", which were an increase in standards in 2006 from 2005. Other minimum standards required to be met are 40 percent on "Science", 50 percent on SDAA II, 75 percent on Completion Rate, and 1.0 percent on Dropout Rate.
Any school or district not meeting all of the above criteria for Academically Acceptable will be rated thus. Any school or district with such ranking will be required to submit a plan for corrective action, and TEA may assign a monitor to the school or district to assist it in improving its rating.
A district with two consecutive Academically Unacceptable ratings can be closed by TEA (as was the case with the now-defunct Wilmer-Hutchins Independent School District and the Mirando City Independent School District).
Not Rated: Other
- School Districts/Charter Schools
- Used for districts or charter operators in the unlikely event that there is insufficient data to rate due to no TAKS results in the accountability subset.
- In 2006, this rating was assigned to districts some impacted by Hurricane Rita, and again in 2008 for some affected by Hurricane Ike.
- Used if the campus:
- has no students enrolled in grades higher than kindergarten
- has insufficient data to rate due to no TAKS results in the accountability subset
- has insufficient data to rate through Special Analysis due to very small numbers of TAKS results in the accountability subset
- is a designated Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP) or a designated Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP)
For a district to receive Exemplary or Recognized status, it cannot have any school rated Academically Unacceptable (even if the overall district statistics would rate such); if a district has any such campus, the district overall can be rated no higher than Academically Acceptable. Alternative education programs are rated using different criteria or forms of language.
In June 2008, the Dallas Morning News reported that TEA was granting "exceptions" to the system so that schools and/or districts could report a higher ranking than it had actually earned.
Under the exception policy, each school may be granted up to four exceptions to the passing standards depending on the number of standards tested (up to the maximum 25 standards):
- If between 1–4 standards tested, 0 exceptions granted
- If between 5–8 standards tested, 1 exception granted
- If between 9–11 standards tested, 2 exceptions granted
- If between 12–15 standards tested, 3 exceptions granted
- If between 16–25 standards tested, 4 exceptions granted
- In addition, if a school tests on 10 or more standards, an exception is granted to allow the school to achieve Exemplary status
In order to qualify for a standard the actual score must be no lower than 5 points of the score needed to achieve a ranking. A school cannot use the same exception for two consecutive years, and if an exception is used the district must file an academic improvement plan with TEA.