Texas – Accountability

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA requires states to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education (US ED) describing the state systems for evaluating school performance and holding schools accountable for improvement. States could submit their plans to the US ED by either April 3 or September 18, 2017. After receiving feedback on their plans from the US ED, states finalize their plans. State accountability systems take effect in school year 2017-18.

SREB developed this profile based on the analysis of Texas’ plan, approved by the US ED on March 26, 2018.

State Highlights: Expectations for College and Career Readiness

States are not required to include college- and career-readiness expectations in their accountability systems under ESSA. Many SREB states, however, did set college- and career-readiness expectations in their plans, in the form of long-term goals and school performance indicators. Texas included the following college- and career-readiness expectations in its plan.

  1. Long-term goals. ESSA requires that states establish long-term goals based on academic achievement, high school graduation rate and English language proficiency for English learners. In addition to setting goals in these areas, Texas also established the following two goals.
    • By 2030, 60 percent of Texans, ages 25 to 34, will possess a postsecondary credential.
    • By 2032, at least 60 percent of all students – and each student subgroup – will meet grade level on state English language arts and math assessments, indicating that they are on track for success in a postsecondary setting.
  2. School performance indicators.
    • School quality or student success. ESSA requires states to set an indicator for school quality or student success, which can but does not have to include such measures as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. Texas’ indicator of school quality or student success includes the following measures.
      • For high schools: Percentage of all students – and each student subgroup – in grade 12 demonstrating
        • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Texas Success Initiative Assessment scores of 351 or higher in reading and 350 or higher in math; ACT exam composite score of 23 or higher with a minimum of 19 on both English and math; or SAT exam scores of 480 or higher in reading and 530 or higher in math
        • AP exam score of 3 or higher, IB exam score of 4 or higher, or equivalent scores on similar exams
        • Completion of dual credit, college preparatory or dual enrollment coursework
        • Enlistment in the military
        • Attainment of industry certification
        • Admission into postsecondary certification programs 
        • Meeting standards – to be determined – that indicate student ability to succeed in entry-level baccalaureate or associate degree coursework without the need for remediation
        • Completion of associate degree while in high school

Read about these expectations in the profile below.

Long-Term Goals

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states establish long-term goals for all students and student groups based on academic achievement, high school graduation rate and English language proficiency for English learners.

Texas established the following long-term goals.

Academic achievement

  • Between 2017 and 2032, the percentage of all students – and each student subgroup – meeting grade-level proficiency on the state’s English language arts and math assessments will increase by 50 percent, indicating that at least 60 percent of students are on track for likely success in a postsecondary setting.
  • By 2032, 72 percent of students will meet grade level on the state’s English language arts assessment, and 73 percent will meet grade level on the math assessment.

Graduation rate

  • By 2032, 94 percent of all students – and each student subgroup – will graduate from high school in four years.

English language proficiency

  • By 2032, 46 percent of English learners will meet annual growth targets on the state English language proficiency test.

College and career readiness

  • By 2030, 60 percent of Texans, ages 25 to 34, will possess a postsecondary credential

School Performance Indicators

ESSA specifies a set of indicators states must use to assess school performance. Indicators for all schools must include academic achievement as measured by proficiency on annual state assessments of English language arts and math in grades three through eight and once in high school. States must require 95 percent of students to participate in these assessments and factor this requirement into the school accountability system. States must also include two more indicators for all schools – English language proficiency for English learners and an indicator of school quality or student success, such as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. For elementary and middle grades schools, states must include an additional academic indicator of the state’s choice, such as student growth on state assessments. For high schools, states must also include an indicator of four-year cohort graduation rate.

Texas established the following indicators of school performance.

Level Indicators

All schools

Academic achievement: Schools must meet the 95 percent participation rate for all students and subgroups

English language proficiency: Progress towards English proficiency on state assessment – Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System

Elementary and middle grades

Academic achievement: Percentage of all students – and each student subgroup – meeting grade-level proficiency on state English language arts and math assessments – State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness

Other academic indicator: Growth of all students – and each student group – on state English language arts and math assessments – State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness

School quality or student success: 

  • Average of three performance levels (approaches grade level, meets grade level and masters) on state English language arts, math, science, social studies and writing assessments – State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness

High schools

Academic achievement

  • Percentage of all students – and each student subgroup – meeting grade-level proficiency on state English language arts and math assessments – end-of-course tests

Graduation rate

  • Four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate for all students and each student subgroup

School quality or student success: Percentage of all students – and each student subgroup – in grade 12 demonstrating college, career and military readiness through any of the following achievements.

  • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Texas Success Initiative Assessment scores of 351 or higher in reading and 350 or higher in math; ACT exam composite score of 23 or higher with a minimum of 19 on both English and math; or SAT exam scores of 480 or higher in reading and 530 or higher in math
  • AP exam score of 3 or higher, IB exam score of 4 or higher, or equivalent scores on similar exams
  • Completion of dual credit, college preparatory or dual enrollment coursework
  • Enlistment in the military
  • Attainment of industry certification
  • Admission into postsecondary certification programs 
  • Meeting standards – to be determined – that indicate student ability to succeed in entry-level baccalaureate or associate degree coursework without the need for remediation
  • Completion of associate degree while in high school

Annual Meaningful Differentiation

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states use their performance indicators to differentiate the performance of all schools and to report performance for all students and all student subgroups. States have flexibility in assigning weight to their indicators, so long as their indicators of academic achievement, graduation rate and English language arts progress together receive much greater weight than their school quality or student success indicators.

Texas established the following framework for differentiating schools, weights for each indicator, and student subgroups.

Framework for differentiating schools in Texas

On an annual basis, schools will receive an overall “Closing the Gaps” A through F letter grade, based on a weighted average scale score of the percentage of all students and each student subgroup meeting state targets on each indicator. In addition to the “Closing the Gaps” A through F letter grade, schools will also receive a descriptive “yes” or “no” rating for meeting state targets for all students and each student subgroup.

Weights assigned to each indicator in Texas

Weights assigned to each indicator in Texas - Elementary and Middle Grades (40% Academic Achievement / 40% Other Academic Indicator / 10% School Quality or Student Success / 10% English Language Proficiency Progress) and High Schools (50% Academic Achievement / 30% School Quality or Student Success / 10% Graduation Rate / 10% English Language Proficiency Progress)

Student subgroups in Texas

  • Subgroups: For state accountability, Texas will focus on 12 student subgroups: economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, students formerly receiving special education services, English learners, continuously enrolled students, mobile students, American Indian students, Asian or Pacific islander students, black students, Hispanic or Latino students, students of two or more races, and white students.
  • Size of subgroups: In instances in which schools do not meet the following thresholds (n-counts), Texas will average three years of data to report student performance. The threshold for all students is 10 students. The threshold for student subgroups is 25. 
  • Use of subgroup data in school ratings: Texas uses subgroup performance data to identify schools for targeted support and improvement (TSI, see below) and publicly reports subgroup performance data for each indicator, as required by ESSA. Additionally, Texas factors subgroup performance into overall school ratings, by including subgroup performance on each indicator into the overall “Closing the Gaps” school rating calculation.

Identifying, Serving and Exiting Schools from Needs Improvement Status

ESSA requires that states establish a methodology for identifying low-performing schools. States must identify two categories of schools at least once every three years: those that need Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and those that need Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI). States may also establish other categories of schools, for example those not in need of improvement.

Texas established the following identification and exit criteria, and interventions to support schools.

Comprehensive Support and Improvement

How schools are identified

    Identified annually beginning in 2018, schools that meet any of the following criteria.

    • CSI schools: Title I schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide, based on overall accountability score
    • CSI high schools: Any school with less than a 67 percent graduation rate
    • TSI schools: Title I schools that do not exit TSI status after three years

    Interventions to meet improvement needs

    State will help local education agencies in supporting their schools by providing the following assistance.

    • Resource allocation review
    • Governance training for local boards of education
    • Needs assessment and improvement planning tools
    • School improvement resource library and toolkits
    • Formula and competitive grant funding
    • Vetted list of school improvement partner organizations
    • Tools and resources for engaging parents and community members in school improvement efforts

    After two years, schools not exiting CSI status may be subject to more rigorous interventions, including the requirement that they develop turnaround plans. After five years, schools not exiting CSI status may be subject to school closure, conversion to charter status, partnership with a charter school, or oversight by a conservator or state-appointed board of managers.

    Criteria for exiting this category

      After two years, schools can exit CSI status by:

      • No longer performing in the bottom 5 percent statewide for two consecutive years and receiving a higher overall letter grade
      Targeted Support and Improvement

      How schools are identified

        Identified annually, beginning in 2018, any school that meets any of the following criteria.

        • TSI schools: Any school with a “consistently underperforming” student subgroup that fails to meet state interim targets for one or more indicators for three consecutive years
        • Additional TSI schools: Any school with a student subgroup that performs at or below all students at the highest-performing CSI school

        Interventions to meet improvement needs

          State will help local education agencies in supporting their schools by providing the following assistance.

          • Resource allocation review
          • Governance training for local boards of education
          • Needs assessment and improvement planning tools
          • School improvement resource library and toolkits
          • Formula grant funding
          • Vetted list of school improvement partner organizations

          Criteria for exiting this category

            • TSI schools: Not defined in plan (not required by ESSA)
            • Additional TSI schools: After one year, schools can exit additional TSI status by having identified student subgroups meet state interim targets on at least 50 percent of the indicators, which must include interim targets for academic achievement in English language arts and math

            This profile was prepared by Kim Anderson, SREB’s director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Mary Elizabeth Mira, SREB’s assistant director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Tiffany Harrison, SREB’s research associate for benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards and Jeff Gagné, SREB’s director of policy analysis. For more information, please contact Kim Anderson at kim.anderson@sreb.org or Jeff Gagné at jeff.gagne@sreb.org.