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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.
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.
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.
The ACT is a curriculum-based, college readiness test that assesses what students
learn in their classes; similar to an achievement test.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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:
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.
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.
A student identified as an immigrant is one who:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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
[Source: 2009-2010 PEIMS Data Standards; 2013-2014 PEIMS Data Standards]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.