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Testing in Texas: An Overview

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By GreatSchools Staff

Texas Accountability Ratings

The Accountability Ratings show how well schools and districts are performing across all grades and all subjects against the state standards. To calculate the Accountability Ratings, the state looks at performance on the TAKS test. Other factors also weigh into the ratings, including student subgroup performance on tests, TAKS (Accomodated) test scores for special education students in some subjects, dropout rates for middle schools and school completion rates for high schools.  Using these indicators, the state rates schools as Exemplary, Recognized, Academically Acceptable or Academically Unacceptable. Districts that have one or more schools rated as Academically Unacceptable cannot receive a rating of Exemplary or Recognized.

What are "AEA" schools and districts and how are they rated?

Some schools and districts are rated under alternative education accountability (AEA) procedures. These schools and districts serve students at risk of dropping out, recovered dropouts, pregnant or parenting students, adjudicated students, students with severe discipline problems, and expelled students. In calculating Accountability Ratings for AEA schools and districts, the state evaluates performance on the TAKS, school completion rates and dropout rates. Based on these indicators, the state rates AEA schools as either Academically Acceptable or Academically Unacceptable. Although the indicators are the same as for standard schools, the criteria to meet the level of Academically Acceptable are specific to AEA schools.

Why do the ratings matter?

A designation of "Academically Unacceptable" suggests that the overall student population at the school is not meeting the state's expectations.

What if my child attends an Academically Unacceptable school?

If your child attends an Academically Unacceptable school, ask what steps the school is taking to raise achievement levels for all students, and what you can do to help. Because these schools are likely to face consequences under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, your child may be eligible to receive federal and/or state money for tutoring or to transfer to another school.

Why do some schools and districts not have Accountability Ratings?

Schools and districts must have at least one TAKS test result to obtain an Accountability Rating. Some schools or districts with a very small number of total TAKS results may also be excluded from the ratings process. If your school's rating is not listed on GreatSchools, contact your principal for more information.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

02/28/2012:
"This info is outdated, it's now the STAAR test, and it's worse than the TAKS. "
04/18/2011:
"i think you should removed these task test because you still have kids taking this test they having be able to graduate this is a lot stressed either for the parents and the child and dont think is right."
11/18/2010:
"I believe the task test is putting these children in a rut. My child has not learned half things I learned when I was in elementary school which is really sad. They have learned how to be stressed on a daily basis. The task test needs to be re-evaluated with surveys from parents and teachers each year,because it is getting to a point of out of control"
08/6/2010:
"The TAKS test is a joke! If you can't pass the test, you are therefore retarded & should just give up on life. The difficulty of it is elementary compared to the ACT or SAT. It baffles me that someone in Austin thought TAKS was a good litmus test for high school students.."
04/2/2009:
"I feel that these tests are unless and so stressful for the kids. Teach everything, not just whats on the TAKS test. How is that education?"
01/29/2009:
"When do we face reality? We have all but destroyed the common teacher. We have decimated the child to a mindless person whom we treat as a number, a statistic, rather a delicate mind we wish to educate. How has this come to pass? Well, at first, we wanted to insure teachers were providing sound education to our children, so a decision was made to test the proficiency to the teacher, however, this was deem demoralizing and many just plain resisted for one reason or another. The powers of Austin, then came up with the ideal of testing the children to see if they had retained the information provided. From there children were tested for all sorts of material. Doomed to failure, testing continues and it destroys children in the nature of dropping out about the 9th or 10th grade. As long as we continue this path, we will lose more children. We have taken away from the prime educator that ability to know their student. That prime responsibity of telling the parent if tha! t child goes on to the next grade in not made by that teacher rather its made by a retention all encompassing test. Children now are even getting symtoms of stress beyond comprehension yet in the name of keeping high paying educators employed, we sacarfice our children. We need to return the responsibilities of pass/fail to that first-line classroom educator, the teacher. We need to stop testing our children at the 11th grade to see if they have retained all that was taught to them in previous grades. Bottom line, we need to stop all the testing and let children have recess and become creative once more. "
08/28/2008:
"I think the TAKS tests are totally useless. All you are doing is teaching how to pass the test. What good is that. I just got a letter from my child's math teacher saying that there will be no math book this year. Seems they don't need one because they will only be teaching them what they need to know to pass the TAKS test. This is ridiculous. I am so upset. I have not spoken to anyone, including teachers that agrees with this method of teaching. Let's put a stop is nonsense."
07/2/2008:
"I don't understand why we look at our children s future to be better if they do a great job on TAKS tests. You can be a great test taker and not be able to make it in the world. I was a horrible test taker growing up, but did better in verbal testing. I surpassed people in the corporate world because they couldn't speak a coherent sentence. But you are telling me that my child has to stress over a test that really has no meaning on what the future holds for them. I agree with the last parent that we need to stop this and teach our children EVERYTHING in school, not just what is on a test!!!!!!!!"
06/2/2008:
"I have not met one person, whether it be parent or teacher who agrees with the TAKS testing. What is it going to take to stop this demeaning way of teaching and testing? Too many families are stressed to the limit and with economy on a downward spiral someone somewhere is going to stand up and shout 'ENOUGH!' And I can hardly wait to join in with that shout. I wish we knew who the person was that dreamed this whole thing up, he/she needs to open their eyes and see the destruction they caused in school systems across America!"
04/25/2008:
"They actually do take the test in Austin."
02/6/2008:
"If my district in Texas has a High School that is rated unacceptable does the State pay for tuition for my child to attend a charter school? If so how do I get funding. My child is currently enrolled in charter school through University of Texas online program and I am finding it hard to meet the financial needs."
11/30/2007:
" Are these standard tougher than the standards for CAlifornia school? The reason I am asking is, I have 2 sons, 1st and 6th grade that I want to move here with me to Arlngton, TX (Mansfield School District) and I want to show in court that the educational standards here in Texas are much higher."
10/25/2007:
"I think the TASK test is ridiculous that you actually teach the test so the school gets a good grade. If the teachers actually taught our students they should be able to pass it on their own. However if they are straight A Honor roll students have excellent grades and can't pass the task test shouldn't mean anything and they should be able to pass to the next grade if they've made great grades all year. They don't do the TASK test in Austin nor NC but they do it here in Killeen, TX why is that??"
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