Ideas and Standards are Bigger in Texas too

Everything seems bigger in Texas and it’s a source of pride for those that call the lone star state home, but it isn’t just things that are bigger in Texas , when it comes to education, ideas and standards are bigger too.

The evolving accountability rating system for the Texas public schools and districts is an effective tool for setting progressive standards to ensure the children of all Texans make the grade.

The accountability system is reviewed each year for accuracy and functionality. First a Focus Group made up of educators meets and outlines the new proposal in one or more meetings before presenting it to the Commissioner's Accountability Advisory Committee (CAAC).  The CAAC is made up of educators, business leaders, legislators, university representatives and other community members. They come together to discuss the newest proposal and they either suggest alternatives measures to those presented or they endorse the next year’s rating system. The Commissioner reviews the information from both groups before making final decisions about the policies and submits them for public review.

In 2006, the Commissioner approved higher standards for the accountability rating for all Texas school children including a 10% increase in writing, science, social studies and reading and a 5% increase in math over the 2005 standards.  In 2007 the bar will be lifted even higher and an additional 5% increase will be expected in all subjects, but it doesn’t end there! An additional 5% increase by 2008 is projected and, by 2009 the recognized standard for all students in all subjects will be a lofty 80%. By 2010 there is an academic expectation of at least 5% more in the subjects of math and science too.

You may be wondering just how Texas educators will know if they are meeting the Commissioner’s goals -in a word, testing. Texas uses standardized testing protocols called the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) to evaluate the progress of students in each district. According to the Texas Education Agency, “The Division of Performance Reporting is responsible for developing the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) reports, which pull together a wide range of information on the performance of students in each school and district in Texas every year. These reports also provide extensive information on staff, finances, programs, and demographics for each school and district.” Those districts that do especially well are further acknowledged with a “Gold Performance” rating.

Every state in must show “adequate yearly progress” of all students as required under the No Child Left Behind Act, but in Texas they are taking that responsibility a step further by setting ever increasing standards for the education of their children.

For more information, to search the accountability standards of past years, to see the results, or to look through samples of TAK tests check out this link: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index.html.

 

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