College Admissions Testing Glossary of Terms, Class of 2012


Academic Achievement Distinction Designations
Under the new Texas public school accountability system, introduced in 2013, academic achievement distinction designations (AADDs) recognize school districts and campuses for outstanding achievement in specified academic areas (Texas Education Code, Chapter 39, Subchapter G, 2011). For 2013, a campus that earned an accountability rating of Met Standard was eligible to receive AADDs based on results across a number of indicators, including SAT/ACT examination participation and performance, in relation to a comparison group of campuses. The indicators were evaluated based on data for the class of 2012. Following are the five campus-level AADD indicators for the SAT and ACT examinations.

Participation in SAT/ACT examinations. This indicator, which measures the campus-wide percentage of graduates who took either the SAT or ACT examination, is calculated as follows:

number of graduates who took the SAT or ACT
number of graduates

Performance in English language arts (ELA) on the SAT. This indicator is calculated in two steps. First, each examinee's scores on the critical reading and writing sections of the examination are summed. Second, the campus-wide average of those combined scores is calculated as follows:

sum of SAT ELA scores
number of graduating SAT examinees

Performance in ELA on the ACT. This indicator is calculated in two steps. First, each examinee's scores on the English and reading sections of the examination are averaged. Second, the campus-wide average of those scores is calculated as follows:

sum of ACT ELA scores
number of graduating ACT examinees

Performance in mathematics on the SAT. This indicator, which measures the campus-wide average of examinees' scores on the mathematics section of the examination, is calculated as follows:

sum of SAT mathematics scores
number of graduating SAT examinees

Performance in mathematics on the ACT. This indicator, which measures the campus-wide average of examinees' scores on the mathematics section of the examination, is calculated as follows:

sum of ACT mathematics scores
number of graduating ACT examinees

For more information about SAT and ACT indicators, see College Admissions Testing General Information, Class of 2012. For more information about AADDs, see the 2013 Accountability Manual.

ACT Composite Score
The composite score is calculated by ACT, Inc., as the average of the scores received on the four required sections of the ACT—English, mathematics, reading, and science—rounded to the nearest whole number. The optional writing section is not included in the composite score calculation.

ACT Examination
The ACT is a curriculum-based, college readiness test that assesses what students learn in their classes; similar to an achievement test.

Criterion Score
In Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPR), performance on SAT/ACT examinations is measured by the percentage of graduating examinees who scored at or above a criterion score on at least one examination. The criterion for the SAT is a combined score of 1110 or higher on the critical reading and mathematics sections of the examination, and the criterion for the ACT is a composite score of 24 or higher. See also ACT Composite Score.

Economically Disadvantaged
Under Texas Education Agency guidelines, a student is identified as economically disadvantaged if he or she is eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch and Child Nutrition Program.

Examinee
Although a student may take the SAT and/or ACT before senior year in high school, results are not reported to the Texas Education Agency by the College Board and ACT, Inc., until the year the student is expected to graduate. Consequently, Texas public school results for a given year are based only on data for examinees reported by the testing companies as expected to graduate that year.

Graduates
A student is classified as a graduate in the year in which he or she is reported in the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) as having graduated from the Texas public school system. For instance, students who graduated in 2011-12 must have done so by August 31, 2012, to be included in 2011-12 graduate counts. The number of graduates is used as the denominator in calculations of examination participation rates.

Graduation Year
The percentages of Texas public school graduates who participate in the SAT, the ACT, or both examinations are calculated using the numbers of examinees reported by the testing companies and the number of graduates reported in the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS). The testing companies use student-reported information, including expected year of graduation, to determine whether to include examinees' scores in that reporting year. PEIMS uses the actual year of graduation reported by school districts after students have graduated. Because examinees who are reported by the testing companies to have graduated in any given year may not have actually done so, the difference in reporting methods can result in imprecise participation rates.

Participation Rate
Participation rates for Texas public school graduates are presented for the SAT and ACT separately, as well as for the two examinations combined. When combined results are presented, data for an individual who took both examinations are counted only once. Participation rates are calculated as follows:

number of graduating examinees
number of graduates

SAT and ACT participation rates for public and nonpublic school graduates combined in Texas, other states, and the United States were obtained, when available, from summary reports released annually by the College Board and ACT, Inc., respectively. The denominators for these rates are projected counts of graduating seniors reported by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Participation rates not available from College Board or ACT, Inc., reports were derived by dividing counts of graduating examinees obtained from the testing companies by WICHE projections of graduating seniors. For information about participation rate calculations for academic achievement distinction designations, see Academic Achievement Distinction Designations.

Performance: Examinees Scoring At or Above Criterion
Performance results for Texas public school graduates are presented for SAT and ACT examinations separately, as well as for the two examinations combined. When combined results are presented, data for an individual who took both examinations are counted only once. As an example, the percentage of graduating examinees who scored at or above criterion on either test is calculated as follows:

number of graduating examinees who scored at or above criterion score on either examination
number of graduating examinees

See also Criterion Score.

Performance: Average Score
An average score is the mean score for a given group on a given examination or examination section. As an example, the average ACT composite score for all graduating examinees in Texas public schools is calculated as follows:

sum of composite ACT scores received by all graduating ACT examinees in Texas public schools
number of graduating ACT examinees in Texas public schools

Average ACT scores are rounded to the first decimal place, and average SAT scores are rounded to the nearest whole number.

SAT and ACT performance results for public and nonpublic school graduates combined in Texas, other states, and the United States were obtained, when available, from summary reports released annually by the College Board and ACT, Inc., respectively. The College Board reports SAT performance data for three separate Hispanic subgroups: Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and other Hispanic students. TEA uses these data to calculate results for Hispanic students overall. Because of rounding, the average scores for Hispanic students on the critical reading and mathematics sections of the examination may not sum to the average critical reading and mathematics combined scores shown for the group. For information about performance indicator calculations for academic achievement distinction designations, see Academic Achievement Distinction Designations.

Race/Ethnicity

ACT, Inc.
ACT, Inc., uses the Student Profile Section (SPS) and the ACT examination answer form to obtain self-reported demographic information, such as race/ethnicity. The SPS is completed when students register for the ACT examination.

Prior to 2010-11, ACT, Inc., reported the following five racial/ethnic categories: African American, American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and White.

In 2010-11, ACT, Inc., began reporting the following seven categories:
1. African American
2. American Indian
3. Asian
4. Hispanic
5. Pacific Islander
6. White
7. Two or more races

College Board
The College Board uses the SAT Questionnaire to obtain self-reported demographic information, such as race/ethnicity. The questionnaire is completed when students register for the SAT examination. Although the ACT and Texas Education Agency (TEA) racial/ethnic categories have recently changed, the College Board's categories have remained the same. Following are the racial/ethnic categories reported by the College Board:
1. American Indian
2. Asian
3. Black
4. Hispanic Overall
    a. Mexican American
    b. Puerto Rican
    c. Other Hispanic
5. White
6. Other

Texas Education Agency
School districts submit student demographic information to TEA through the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS). Prior to the 2009-10 school year, TEA required that districts submit one of five racial/ethnic categories for each student: American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian or Pacific Islander; Black or African American (not of Hispanic origin); Hispanic/Latino; or White (not of Hispanic origin).

In 2009-10, TEA began collecting data on race and ethnicity in compliance with a new federal standard. For that year only, as a transitional measure, the data also were collected using the old standard. The new standard requires that race and ethnicity be collected separately using a specific two-part question, presented in a specific order, and that both parts of the question be answered.

Part 1. Ethnicity: Is the person Hispanic/Latino? Choose only one.
  • Hispanic/Latino
  • Not Hispanic/Latino

Part 2. Race: What is the person's race? Choose one or more, regardless of ethnicity.
  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • White

The racial/ethnic categories are defined as follows. Hispanic includes students of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. American Indian or Alaska Native includes students having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintain a tribal affiliation or community attachment. Asian includes students having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. Black or African American includes students having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander includes students having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. White includes students having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

The new standard resulted in several important changes: (a) the combined racial category Asian/Pacific Islander is now separated into two categories; (b) students once identified exclusively as "Hispanic/Latino" must now report their race; (c) students may report more than one race; and (d) the definition for one of the racial categories—American Indian or Alaska Native—differs from that used in years past. Prior to 2009-10, American Indian or Alaska Native included students having origins in any of the original peoples of North America only.

For purposes of reporting Texas public school SAT and ACT data, TEA combines the answers to the two-part question to create seven mutually exclusive racial/ethnic categories. A student identified as Hispanic is included only in the count for Hispanics. A student not identified as Hispanic is included in the count for only one of the following six racial categories: African American, American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander, White, or multiracial. A student identified as having two or more races is included only in the count for multiracial students, not in the count for any single racial category.

SAT Examination
The SAT is a curriculum-based, college readiness test that assesses the academic skills and knowledge students acquire in high school and the ability to apply that knowledge.


Copyright Information
SAT is a trademark of the College Board, and ACT is a trademark of ACT, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Contact Information
For questions or comments, please e-mail the Division of Research and Analysis, or contact the division by phone at 512-475-3523.

This page last updated August 19, 2015.