Explanation of Masking Rules

The 2009 accountability data tables employ masking of assessment data, in order to comply with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Generally, the term "masking" refers to the use of special symbols to conceal the performance results. TAKS results are masked under the following conditions:

  1. When very few students in the group are assessed.
    If performance is revealed for a group of very few students, then it is possible that the result for an individual student could be known, which violates that student's right to privacy.
  2. When all students have the same result (for example, either all passing or all failing).
    Revealing that 100 percent of the students passed or 0 percent passed has been deemed to violate the privacy of all students tested in that the result for every student tested is known. In cases where TAKS results are 100 percent or round to 100 percent, then the expression >99% is shown. In cases where TAKS results are 0 percent or round to 0 percent, then <1% is shown.

The tables below show each of the masking situations that are possible on the 2009 accountability data tables. Note that an asterisk ('*') is used for a number of different conditions. The symbols in the shaded bars (rows with case labels) will appear on the reports in place of the data shown in the examples.

TAKS Symbols Used

Scenarios
Numerator
Denominator
Percent
Meaning
Case 1
*
*
*
  • Denominator is less than five (including 0).
Examples
4
4
100%
 
3
4
75%
0
0
n/a
0
4
0%
Case 2
*
*
>99%
  • Denominator is five or more; and,
  • Percent is 100 or rounds to 100.
Examples
24
24
100%
 
995
1000
100%
199
200
100%
Case 3
*
*
<1%
  • Denominator is five or more; and,
  • Percent is 0 or rounds to 0.
Example
0
5
0%
 
Case 4
*
*
Number
  • Denominator is five or more; and,
  • The difference between the numerator and denominator is one or two; and,
  • Percent is not 100 or 0 and does not round to 100 or 0.

Examples
22
23
96%
 
198
200
99%
3
5
60%
Case 5
*
*
Number
  • Denominator is five or more; and,
  • The numerator is one or two; and,
  • Percent is not 100 or 0 and does not round to 100 or 0.
Examples
2
5
40%
 
1
5
20%

New for 2009: With the addition of Texas Projection Measure (TPM) data to the 2009 accountability data tables, additional masking may occur because of the shared denominator between the TAKS base indicator (Percent Met Standard) and the Percent Met with TPM. In cases where any of the five cases described above are invoked for one of these measures, the same masking is applied to both measures. If one was masked and the other not masked, the values could be derived for the masked data from the unmasked data. See the examples, below.

 
Number Met Std (Numerator)
Number Taking (Denominator)
Pct Met Std
Number Met Std w/ TPM (Numerator)
Number Taking (Denominator)
Pct Met w/ TPM
Example 1
Unmasked
2
6
33%
3
6
50%
Masked
*
*
33%
*
*
50%
 
(Case 5)
(No case, but masked to protect masking of base indicator.)
Example 2
Unmasked
199
206
97%
204
206
99%
Masked
*
*
97%
*
*
99%
 
(No case, but masked to protect masking of TPM indicator.)
(Case 4)

In summary for there to be no masking of assessment data, all of the following conditions must be met:

  • Denominator is five or more (ten or more on the TAKS Progress Indicator under AEA Procedures); and,
  • Number passing is more than two; and,
  • Number failing is more than two; and,
  • Percent is not 100 or 0 and does not round to either 100 or 0.
 
Numerator
Denominator
Percent
Examples
197
200
99%
3
6
50%
59
62
95%

Dropout and Completion Symbols Used

Scenarios
Numerator
Denominator
Percent
Meaning
Case 1
*
Number
*
Denominator is 2, 3, or 4.
Examples
1
4
25.0%
 
0
2
0.0%
3
3
100.0%
Case 2
0
0
--
Denominator is 0.
Case 3
*
*
*
Denominator is 1.
Examples
0
1
0.0%
 
1
1
100.0%

Symbols Used for Masking Downloads

Data available for download are also masked:

Masking Symbol in Download
Masking Symbol on Data Table
What is Masked
-1
*
Small numbers
-3
<1%
Values at or near 0%
-4
>99%
Values at or near 100%
-999
*
Small numbers in Actual Change and Required Improvement only.

 

Symbols Used for masking Gold Performance Acknowledgement (GPA) values:

For TAKS Commended, Texas Success Initiative (TSI), and College-Ready Graduates, masking rules are the same as for TAKS, shown above.

For Advanced Courses, AP/IB, RHSP/DAP Graduates, and SAT/ACT, masking rules are the same as for Dropout and Completion, shown above.

For Attendance, the masking rules are as follows:

Scenarios

Numerator

Denominator

Percent

Meaning

Case 1

*

Number

*

Denominator is less than 900 (excluding 0).

Examples

100

400

25.0%

 

0

200

0.0%

800

800

100.0%

Case 2

0

0

--

Denominator is 0.

Case 3

*

*

*

Denominator is 1.

Examples

0

1

0.0%

 

1

1

100.0%