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Trustees Hear Update on State's New Accountability System

September 20, 2013

The Plano ISD Board of Trustees at its September 3 meeting heard a report on the Texas Education Agency's (TEA) new accountability system for schools and school districts. Dr. Dash Weerasinghe, Plano ISD executive director for assessment and accountability, presented the report. He explained that the 2012-13 school year represented a transition for the state's accountability system with the administration of the new STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) testing and additional new measures for reporting student achievement.

In the above videovideo, the accountability system report begins approximately three-quarters through the meeting.

About the State's New Accountability System

"The new accountability system has been in design for more than two years," said Dr. Weerasinghe, who served on the TEA Accountability Technical Advisory Committee. Missy Bender, Plano ISD trustee, served on the TEA Accountability Policy Advisory Committee. "This is the first time that the STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) test results have been factored into the accountability system."

Dr. Weerasinghe explained that the following measures were included in the new accountability system reporting.

  • Spring 2013 Grades 3-8 STAAR (English)
  • Spring 2013 Grades 5-8 STAAR (Spanish)
  • 2012-13 EOC (End of Course) Exams
    • July 2012
    • Dec 2012
    • Spring 2013
  • Spring 2013 Grade 11 TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge & Skills)
    • Last Year of TAKS
  • 2012 Graduation & Drop-Out Rates
  • 2012 Attendance Rates

Accountability Report Cover

View the Plano ISD Accountability Ratings Report PDF as presented to trustees at the September 3, 2013, school board meeting.

Campus Distinctions
Based on Four New Index Scores

"The accountability ratings are going to look very different this year as compared to past years," Dr. Weerasinghe said. Four new index scores are considered in the new accountability system.

  1. Index 1: Student Achievement
  2. Index 2: Student Progress
  3. Index 3: Closing Performance Gaps
  4. Index 4: Post Secondary Readiness



Click here to view a larger version of the above chart. The numbers outlined in the green boxes are the benchmark percentages for all Texas students. The numbers at the top of each bar are Plano ISD's percentages of students who met each of the four index standards.

Index 1: Student Achievement

The former state accountability system, which rated schools and school districts as" exemplary," "recognized," "acceptable," etc., are all now part of the "Student Achievement" index, Dr. Weerasinghe explained. "Therefore, everything considered in the former ratings system represents just one-fourth of the new accountability system," he said.

The 25 passing rates for five subjects (reading, math, writing, science and social studies) and five student groups (all, African American, Hispanic, white and economically disadvantaged) in the former accountability system are now all combined into one overall passing rate.

As a school district, Plano ISD scored 90% on the new student achievement performance index. All 66 Plano ISD schools "Met Expectations" under the new accountability ratings system. The benchmark for student achievement across the state of Texas was set at 50 by the state's accountability system policy advisory group and other committee members.

Index 2: Student Progress

Student progress is based on growth, which is measured at two levels. If students reached one target, they are considered to have "met expectations." If they met a higher target, they are considered as "exceeding expectations."

Dr. Weerasinghe said that, "A campus can have a passing rate of 60% and have a very high growth rate. And, a campus can have a 95% passing rate and still have a very high growth rate. This is all new in accountability system reporting."

In addition to meeting index score standards, percent of students exceeding growth standards are included as part of the new distinction system.

Index 3: Closing Performance Gaps

The index measuring "closing performance gaps" is targeted to historically under-performing groups of students. The target set for this group was 55%. Plano ISD's rating for this index was 79%. Student groups in this index include economically disadvantaged, African-American and Hispanic students.

Index 4: Post Secondary Readiness

This index is measured on the school district's graduation rate, drop-out rate and the percentage of students who are in the Recommended and Distinguished graduation plans.


View an overview of the state accountability system based upon four new index scores in this "quick look" document.

Campus Distinctions

The three distinctions that campuses could earn for the 2012-13 school year are based upon student progress and on academic achievement in ELA (English/Language Arts) reading and math. Distinctions are based on campus performance compared to a group of 40 comparison campuses. The goal for a campus is to be among the top 10 in performance to achieve a distinction. For example, Bowman Middle School is rated third among its group of 40 comparison campuses.

The groups of 40 campuses across the state that are demographically similar are based on the following five criteria.

  • Grade configuration (elementary, middle, high)
  • Student Enrollment
  • English Language Learners Percentage
  • Economically Disadvantaged Percentage
  • Mobility Rate (% of students in enrollment that missed six or more weeks at a particular campus)

Summary & Links to More Information

"In the future, accountability system ratings will be based on multiple levels of standards within given indexes," said Dr. Weerasinghe. The standards for passing tests are being phased in over time." For more information about the new accountability system and tests administered to students, visit the Plano ISD Assessment & Accountability website.




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