Glossary of Terms, Grade-Level Retention, 2019-20

Division of Research and Analysis

A student identified as at-risk of dropping out of school is one who is under age 26 and who meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • is in prekindergarten, kindergarten, or Grades 1, 2, or 3 and did not perform satisfactorily on a readiness test or assessment instrument administered during the current school year;
  • is in Grades 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 and did not maintain an average equivalent to 70 on a scale of 100 in two or more subjects in the foundation curriculum (language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies) during a semester in the preceding or current school year or is not maintaining such an average in two or more subjects in the foundation curriculum in the current semester;
  • was not advanced from one grade level to the next for one or more school years;
  • did not perform satisfactorily on an assessment instrument administered to the student under Texas Education Code (TEC) Subchapter B, Chapter 39, and who has not in the previous or current school year subsequently performed on that instrument or another appropriate instrument at a level equal to at least 110 percent of the level of satisfactory performance on that instrument;
  • is pregnant or is a parent;
  • has been placed in an alternative education program in accordance with TEC §37.006 during the preceding or current school year;
  • has been expelled in accordance with TEC §37.007 during the preceding or current school year;
  • is currently on parole, probation, deferred prosecution or other conditional release;
  • was previously reported through the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) to have dropped out of school;
  • is a student of limited English proficiency, as defined by TEC §29.052;
  • is in the custody or care of the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services or has, during the current school year, been referred to the department by a school official, officer of the juvenile court, or law enforcement official;
  • is homeless, as defined by title 42 of the United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 11302, and its subsequent amendments;
  • resided in the preceding school year or resides in the current school year in a residential placement facility in the district, including a detention facility, substance abuse treatment facility, emergency shelter, psychiatric hospital, halfway house, cottage home operation, specialized child-care home, or generalized residential operation;
  • has been incarcerated or has a parent or guardian who has been incarcerated, within the lifetime of the student, in a penal institution as defined by Texas Penal Code §1.07;
  • or, regardless of the student's age, participated in an adult education program provided under a high school diploma and industry certification charter school program under TEC §29.259.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]

Bilingual or English as a Second Language (ESL)
Students identified as English learners (ELs), who do not speak English as their primary language and have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English, may participate in bilingual or English as a second language (ESL) programs. There are four state-approved bilingual instructional program models. The program must be a full-time program that provides dual-language instruction through the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in the content areas (mathematics, science, health, and social studies) in English and the primary language of EL students. In addition, the program must provide for a carefully structured and sequenced mastery of English cognitive academic language development, as defined by 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §89.1210(c). There are two state-approved ESL instructional program models. An ESL program provides intensive instruction in English through second language acquisition methods in all content area TEKS (mathematics, science, health, and social studies) for EL students, as defined by 19 TAC §89.1210(d). A school district that is unable to provide a state-approved bilingual or ESL program because of an insufficient number of appropriately certified teachers must request from the commissioner of education an exception to the bilingual education program or a waiver for the ESL program and approval of an alternative language program (19 TAC §89.1207). Beginning with the 2019-20 school year, districts were required to submit data through the Texas Student Data System specifying whether students receiving bilingual or ESL services received them through state-approved programs or through alternative language programs.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]

Career and Technical Education (CTE)
A student enrolled in a state-approved CTE program as a participant in the district's career and technical coherent sequence of courses is identified as participating in a career and technical education program. Students enrolled in CTE courses as electives are excluded from CTE rates.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]

Data Masking
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (Title 20 of the United States Code §1232(g); Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 99) prohibits improper disclosure of personally identifiable student information by any educational agency or institution that receives funding under any program administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). In 2016, ED guidance on reporting education data in compliance with FERPA changed, relaxing requirements for masking state-level data. Based on this guidance, state-level data presented will no longer be masked, beginning with 2015-16 reporting.

Dyslexia is a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity. A student is identified as having dyslexia after being screened or tested at the end of his or her kindergarten year and in Grade 1 in accordance with a program approved by the State Board of Education (Texas Education Code [TEC] §38.003).
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]

Economically Disadvantaged
A student identified as economically disadvantaged is one who is eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch and Child Nutrition Program.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]

English Learner (EL)
A student is classified as an EL when: (a) a language other than English is used as the primary language in the home, and (b) the student's English language proficiency is determined to be limited by a Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC) or as indicated by a test of English proficiency. Most students identified as ELs receive instruction through bilingual, English as a second language, or alternative language programs.

Note, in the dashboard, ELs are identified as receiving services through bilingual, English as a second language (ESL), bilingual alternative language, or ESL alternative language programs; or as receiving no services. For more information on these programs, see the Bilingual or English as a Second Language (ESL) definition. Counts of ELs receiving special language program services and of ELs not receiving such services exclude students for whom information about parental permission for participation in special language programs was missing and, therefore, may not sum to the total number of ELs.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards, 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §89.1226]

Foster Care
A student classified as being in foster care is in the conservatorship of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]

Gifted and Talented
A student identified as gifted and talented is one who performs at or shows the potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment, and who: (a) exhibits high performance capability in an intellectual, creative, or artistic area; (b) possesses an unusual capacity for leadership; or (c) excels in a specific academic field.
[Source: Texas Education Code [TEC] §29.121]

Grade-Level Retention
Grade retention has been defined as requiring a child to repeat a particular grade or delaying entry to kindergarten or first grade. This definition of retention—repetition of a grade or delayed entry—applies primarily to Grades K-6. The same grade level in successive years in high school does not necessarily represent the repetition of a full year's curriculum, as it does in elementary school. Secondary school programs are structured around individual courses. Because passing and failing are determined at the level of the course and credits are awarded for courses completed successfully, the concept of a "grade level" becomes more fluid. Students who fail to earn credit in a single course or take fewer courses than required in one year may be classified at the same grade level in two consecutive years. Practices in Grades 7 and 8 may be like those in elementary school or like those in high school, depending on local school district policies.

Retention rates have been calculated by TEA based on year-to-year progress of individual students since 1994-95. Prior to the 1998-99 school year, the retention calculations included only students who were enrolled on the last Friday in October. Beginning in 1998-99, additional enrollment data for Grades 7-12 were collected by TEA to calculate the secondary school dropout and graduation rates. This collection expanded available Grades 7-12 enrollment data beyond students enrolled the last Friday in October to include students enrolled at any time during the fall. The change in the retention calculation allowed more secondary school students to be included and made the calculation of the retention rate more like that of the secondary school dropout and graduation rates. Expanded enrollment data were not collected for Grades K-6, so the method of calculating enrollment counts for Grades K-6 was unchanged.

Retention rates for the 2019-20 school year were calculated by comparing 2019-20 attendance records to fall 2020 enrollment records. Students who left the Texas public school system for any reason other than graduation were excluded from the total student count. Students new to the Texas public school system in fall 2020 were also excluded. Students who enrolled both years or graduated were included in the total student count. Students found to have been enrolled in the same grade in both years were counted as retained. Students found to have been in a higher grade in fall 2020 than in 2019-20 were counted as promoted. Students reported to have had improbable grade sequences were assigned an "unknown" promotion status. Retention rates were calculated by dividing number of students retained by total student count.

A student is classified as homeless when the student lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence as defined by title 42 of the United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 11434(a). This definition includes:

  • children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters;
  • children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
  • children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
  • migratory children (as such term is defined in U.S.C. Section 6399 of Title 20) who qualify as homeless because the children are living in circumstances described previously.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]

A student identified as an immigrant is one who: (a) is aged 3 through 21; (b) was not born in any state in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia; and (c) has not been attending school in the United States for more than three full academic years. U.S. citizenship is not a factor when identifying a student as an immigrant for the purpose of public school data collection.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]

A student identified as a migrant is one who: (a) is aged 3 through 21; (b) is (or whose parent, spouse, or guardian is) a migratory agricultural worker; including a migratory dairy worker, or migratory fisher; and (c) in the preceding 36 months, in order to obtain, or accompany such parent, spouse, or guardian in order to obtain, temporary or seasonal employment in agriculture or fishing work: (1) has moved from one school district to another; or (2) resides in a school district of more than 15,000 square miles and migrates a distance of 20 miles or more to a temporary residence to engage in a fishing activity.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]

For state reporting purposes, a student identified as military-connected is a dependent of a current or former member of the U.S. military service, the Texas National Guard, or a reserve force in the U.S. military. A student who was a dependent of a member of a military or reserve force in the U.S. military who was killed in the line of duty may also be identified as military-connected by the state.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]

Based on compulsory school attendance laws in Texas, under which most students begin Grade 1 at the age of six, the age of a student in any specified grade is usually equal to that grade level plus five years. For example, most students in Grade 9 are 14 years of age (9+5=14). A student whose age on September 1 is higher than his or her grade level plus five years is classified as overage.

Students in Texas may be classified as:

  • African American: A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.
  • American Indian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America).
  • Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • Hispanic: A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.
  • Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
  • White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East.
  • Multiracial: A person having more than one of African American, American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander, or White races.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]

Section 504
A Section 504 student is one who is receiving assistance through an aid, accommodation, or service under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]

Special Education
A student enrolled in a special education program is one who is participating in a special education instructional and related services program or a general education program using special education support services, supplementary aids, or other special arrangements.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]

Special Education Primary Disabilities
Each student receiving special education services has an individualized education program (IEP) that is developed by a local admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee and that specifies goals and objectives for the year (Title 19 of the Texas Administrative Code [TAC] §89.1055). The student progresses to the next grade level when the goals and objectives are met. ARDs assign each elementary special education student a primary disability from 1 of 13 categories of disability and assign each secondary special education student 1 of 11 primary disabilities. Primary disabilities include: auditory impairment, autism, deaf/blind, developmental delay, emotional disturbance, intellectual disability, learning disability, noncategorical early childhood, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, speech impairment, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment.

Note, in the dashboard, totals for primary disabilities may not sum to the total number of students in special education programs because not all students in special education programs were matched to primary disabilities.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]

Title I
A Title I student is one participating in a program authorized under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is designed to improve the academic achievement of disadvantaged students.
[Source: 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards]