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A new study found that monitoring specific indicators by age group may help schools meet state accountability thresholds. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) partnered with Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southwest to explore whether information regularly collected by districts and schools could be used to create indicators for monitoring low-performing schools. This is a priority for TEA’s School Improvement Division identifies, monitors, and supports low-performing schools. Here’s how it goes and what we’ve learned:


  • To identify low-performing schools, TEA assigns annual academic accountability ratings to its districts and schools.
  • These ratings are only provided once per year and are vulnerable to disruptions in the assessment system. Schools that receive low accountability ratings do not meet accountability expectations and are considered low-performing.

The Study

  • Using school-level data from the two school years preceding the pandemic (2017/18 and 2018/19), the study examined which student behaviors and teacher factors were associated with the performance of Texas schools on accountability measures that use assessment data.
    • student behaviors included
      • attendance
      • coursetaking
      • discipline
    • teacher factors included
      • years of experience
      • turnover

Study Findings

  • The study found that several student behaviors and teacher factors were associated with the likelihood of schools meeting accountability expectations across school levels and could be used to identify whether a school was likely to meet accountability expectations.
    • Elementary schools indicators – student attendance and chronic absenteeism
    • Middle school indicators – student attendance, chronic absenteeism, and discipline
    • High schools indicators – student coursetaking and teacher turnover.
    • Many indicators that identified schools that were likely to meet accountability expectations in 2017/18 and 2018/19 did not identify these schools as likely to meet accountability expectations in 2019/20.
    • Pandemic structural changes such as how attendance was reported may have contributed.
  • Staff at TEA can consider using these indicators to identify schools that are not likely to meet accountability expectations and may need extra support during a typical school year.
  • The indicators are not intended to be used in the place of accountability ratings.
  • Instead, they can provide information for TEA staff to identify schools in need of supports and help identify what supports to provide, for ongoing monitoring throughout the school year, and when accountability data are not available.


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