College Admissions Testing Glossary of Terms, Classes of 2013 and 2014


Distinction Designations

Overview
Under the Texas Public School Accountability System, distinction designations are awarded to recognize school districts and campuses for outstanding achievement in specified academic areas (Texas Education Code, Chapter 39, Subchapter G, 2013). The distinction designations are based on results across a number of indicators. To be eligible to earn a distinction designation, a district or campus must receive an accountability rating of Met Standard.

Academic Achievement Distinction Designations
For the 2014 and 2015 accountability ratings cycles, six academic achievement distinction designation (AADD) indicators for SAT and ACT examinations were available at the campus level. Results for a campus were evaluated in relation to results for a comparison group of similar campuses. The SAT and ACT indicators for AADDs were evaluated based on data for the previous school year's graduating class. For example, the SAT and ACT indicators for 2015 distinction designations were evaluated based on data for the class of 2014. AADDs were not available for districts.

Following were the SAT and ACT indicator calculations for AADDs.


  • Participation in SAT/ACT examinations. This indicator, which measures the campus-wide percentage of graduates who took either the SAT or ACT examination, was 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 was calculated in two steps. First, each examinee's scores on the critical reading and writing sections of the examination were summed. Second, the campus-wide average of those combined scores was calculated as follows:

    sum of SAT ELA scores
    number of graduating SAT examinees

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

    sum of ACT mathematics scores
    number of graduating ACT examinees

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

    sum of ACT science scores
    number of graduating ACT examinees

Postsecondary Readiness Distinction Designations
For the 2014 and 2015 accountability ratings cycles, one postsecondary readiness distinction designation (PRDD) was available at the campus level, and one was available at the district level. In each case, the PRDD included two SAT/ACT indicators: participation in, and performance on, either the SAT or ACT examination. Results for a campus were evaluated in relation to results for a comparison group of similar campuses. Results for a district were evaluated based on results for campus-level indicators aggregated across all campuses in the district. The SAT/ACT indicators for PRDDs were evaluated based on data for the previous school year's graduating class. For example, the SAT/ACT indicators for 2015 distinction designations were evaluated based on data for the class of 2014.

Following were the SAT/ACT indicator calculations for campus-level PRDDs.


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

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

  • Performance on SAT/ACT examinations. This indicator, which measures the campus-wide percentage of graduating examinees who scored at or above criterion on either the SAT or ACT examination, was calculated as follows:

    number of graduating examinees who scored at or above criterion on the SAT or ACT
    number of graduating examinees who took the SAT or ACT

Additional Resources
For more information about the SAT and ACT indicators, see College Admissions Testing General Information, Classes of 2013 and 2014. For more information about distinction designations, see the 2014 Accountability Manual and 2015 Accountability Manual. See also Criterion Score.


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.


At-Risk
A student identified as at-risk of dropping out of school is one who is under age 21 and who meets one or more of the following criteria:

  1. 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;
  2. 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, math, 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;
  3. was not advanced from one grade level to the next for one or more school years;
  4. 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;
  5. is pregnant or a parent;
  6. has been placed in an alternative education program in accordance with TEC 37.006 during the preceding or current school year;
  7. has been expelled in accordance with TEC 37.007 during the preceding or current school year;
  8. is currently on parole, probation, deferred prosecution or other conditional release;
  9. was previously reported through the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) to have dropped out of school;
  10. is of limited English proficiency, as defined by TEC 29.052;
  11. 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;
  12. is homeless, as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act, Title X, Part C, Section 725(2), the term "homeless children and youths," and its subsequent amendments; or
  13. 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, or foster group home.
[Source: 2013-2014 PEIMS Data Standards]


Bilingual
Bilingual indicates that the student is participating in a state-approved bilingual education program. The program must be a full-time program that provides dual-language instruction through the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills in the content areas (mathematics, science, health, and social studies) in the primary language of English language learners. In addition, the program must provide for a carefully structured and sequenced mastery of English cognitive academic language development.

[Source: 2013-2014 PEIMS Data Standards]


Career and Technical Education
A student may be enrolled in a state-approved career and technical education (CTE) program either as a participant in the district's CTE coherent sequence of courses program, or as a participant in the district's tech prep program.

[Source: 2013-2014 PEIMS Data Standards]


Criterion Score
For purposes of awarding postsecondary readiness distinction designations under the Texas public school accountability system, the SAT/ACT examination performance indicator measures the percentage of graduating examinees who scored at or above a criterion score on either the SAT or ACT examination. The criterion scores are defined as a combined score of 1110 on the critical reading and mathematics sections of the SAT and a composite score of 24 on the ACT. See also ACT Composite Score and Distinction Designations.


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: 2013-2014 PEIMS Data Standards]


English as a Second Language
English as a second language (ESL) indicates that a student is participating in a state-approved ESL program. An ESL program in Grade 8 or below is a program of intensive instruction in English from teachers either certified or endorsed in ESL who use second language acquisition information to teach English language learners (ELLs) the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS). An ESL program in Grades 9-12 is a program of intensive instruction in English from teachers trained in recognizing and dealing with language differences who use secondary language acquisition information to teach ELLs the ELPS.

[Source: 2013-2014 PEIMS Data Standards]


English Language Learner
A student is classified as an English language learner (ELL) 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 or as indicated by a test of English proficiency. Most students identified as ELLs receive bilingual or English as a second language instruction.

[Source: 2013-2014 PEIMS Data Standards; 19 Texas Administrative Code 89.1225, 2014]


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.


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:

  1. exhibits high performance capability in an intellectual, creative, or artistic area;
  2. possesses an unusual capacity for leadership; or
  3. excels in a specific academic field.
[Source: Texas Education Code 29.121, 2013]


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 as having graduated from the Texas public school system. For instance, students who graduated in 2013-14 must have done so by August 31, 2014, to be included in 2013-14 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.


Immigrant
A student identified as an immigrant is one who:

  1. is aged 3 through 21;
  2. was not born in any state in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia; and
  3. has not been attending school in the United States for more than three full academic years.
[Source: 2013-2014 PEIMS Data Standards]


Migrant
A student identified as a migrant is one who is aged 3 through 21 and is a migratory agricultural worker (or whose parent, spouse, or guardian is a migratory agricultural worker) and who, in the preceding 36 months, in order to obtain temporary employment in agriculture or fishing, or to accompany a parent, spouse, or guardian to obtain such employment: (a) has moved from one school district to another, or (b) 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 in order to engage in a fishing activity.

[Source: 2013-2014 PEIMS Data Standards]


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 graduates who took the SAT or ACT
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 distinction designations, see 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 on the SAT or ACT
number of graduating examinees who took the SAT or ACT

See also Criterion Score. For information about performance indicator calculations for distinction designations, see Distinction Designations.


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 distinction designations, see 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 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
    1. Mexican American
    2. Puerto Rican
    3. 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.

[Source: 2009-2010 PEIMS Data Standards; 2013-2014 PEIMS Data Standards]


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.


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: 2013-2014 PEIMS 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: 2013-2014 PEIMS Data Standards]


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 January 6, 2016.