AIA(LEGAL) - ACCOUNTABILITY: ACCREDITATION AND PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
Each district must be accredited by Texas Education Agency (TEA). A district that is not accredited may not receive funds from TEA or hold itself out as operating a public school of this state. Education Code 11.001, 39.052(f)
District accreditation is determined in accordance with Education Code Chapter 39, Subchapter C and rules adopted by the commissioner of education at 19 Administrative Code, Chapter 97, Subchapter EE (Accreditation Status, Standards, and Sanctions). Education Code 39.051
The commissioner shall determine criteria for the following accreditation statuses:
- Accredited. Accredited means TEA recognizes the district as a public school of this state that meets the standards determined by the commissioner under Education Code 39.052(b) and (c), and specified in 19 Administrative Code 97.1059; and is not currently assigned an accreditation status of Accredited-Warned or Accredited-Probation;
- Accredited-Warned. Accredited-Warned means the district exhibits deficiencies in performance, as specified in 19 Administrative Code 97.1055(b), that, if not addressed, will lead to probation or revocation of its accreditation status;
- Accredited-Probation. Accredited-Probation means the district exhibits deficiencies in performance, as specified in 19 Administrative Code 97.1055(c), that must be addressed to avoid revocation of its accreditation status; and
- Not Accredited-Revoked. Not Accredited-Revoked means TEA does not recognize the district as a Texas public school because the district's performance has failed to meet standards adopted by the commissioner under Education Code 39.052(b) and (c), and specified in 19 Administrative Code 97.1055(d).
Education Code 39.051; 19 TAC 97.1055(a)(1)
Each year, the commissioner shall determine the accreditation status of each district. In determining the accreditation status of a district, the commissioner:
- Shall evaluate and consider performance:
- On achievement indicators under Education Code 39.053 [see Performance Indicators, below]; and
- Under the financial accountability rating system developed under Education Code, Chapter 39, Subchapter D [see CFA].
- May evaluate and consider:
- The district's compliance with statutory requirements and requirements imposed by rule of the commissioner or State Board of Education that relate to:
- Reporting data through the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) or other reports required by state or federal law or court order;
- High school graduation requirements; or
- Extracurricular activities, student health and safety, purchasing, elementary class size limits, removal of a disruptive student from the classroom, at-risk programs, and prekindergarten programs;
- The effectiveness of the district's programs for special populations; and
- The effectiveness of the district's career and technology program.
- The district's compliance with statutory requirements and requirements imposed by rule of the commissioner or State Board of Education that relate to:
Based on a district's performance, the commissioner shall assign each district an accreditation status or revoke the accreditation of the district and order closure of the district.
A district's accreditation status may be raised or lowered based on the district's performance or may be lowered based on the performance of one or more campuses in the district that is below a standard required by Education Code Chapter 39, Subchapter C.
Education Code 7.056(e)(3)(C)-(I), 39.052; 19 TAC 97.1055
For additional information on the commissioner process for assigning accreditation status, see 19 Administrative Code 97.1055.
Notice of Status
The commissioner shall notify a district if the district has received an accreditation status of accredited-warned or accredited-probation, or a campus's performance is below standard. Education Code 39.052(e)
To Parents and Property Owners
A district assigned an accreditation status of accredited-warned, accredited-probation, or not accredited-revoked shall notify the parents of students enrolled in the district and property owners in the district as specified in 19 Administrative Code 97.1055. The district's notice must contain information about the accreditation status, the implications of such status, and the steps the district is taking to address the areas of deficiency identified by the commissioner. The district's notice shall use the format and language determined by the commissioner.
The district's notice must:
- Not later than 30 calendar days after the accreditation status is assigned, appear on the home page of the district's website, with a link to the required notification, and remain until the district is assigned the accredited status; and
- Appear in a newspaper of general circulation, as defined in 19 Administrative Code 97.1051 (Definitions), in the district for three consecutive days as follows:
- From Sunday through Tuesday of the second week following assignment of the status; or
- If the newspaper is not published from Sunday through Tuesday, then for three consecutive issues of the newspaper beginning the second week following assignment of the status; or
- Not later than 30 calendar days after the status is assigned, be sent by first class mail addressed individually to each parent of a student enrolled in the district and each property owner in the district; or
- Not later than 30 calendar days after the status is assigned, be presented as a discussion item in a public meeting of the board of trustees conducted at a time and location that allows parents of students enrolled in the district and property owners in the district to attend and provide public comment.
A district required to act under this subsection shall send the following to TEA via certified mail, return receipt requested:
- The universal resource locator (URL) for the link to the notification required above; and
- Copies of the notice in the newspaper showing dates of publication, or a paid invoice showing the notice content and its dates of publication; or
- Copies of the notice sent by mail and copies of all mailing lists and postage receipts; or
- Copies of the notice presented at a public meeting and copies of the board of trustees meeting notice and minutes for the board meeting in which the notice was presented and publicly discussed.
19 TAC 97.1055(f)
The commissioner shall adopt a set of indicators of the quality of learning and achievement, including three domains of achievement indicators. [See Achievement Indicators, below] Education Code 39.053(a)
The indicators must measure and evaluate districts and campuses with respect to:
- Improving student preparedness for success in subsequent grade levels and entering the workforce, the military, or postsecondary education;
- Reducing, with the goal of eliminating, student academic achievement differentials among students from different racial and ethnic groups and socioeconomic backgrounds; and
- Informing parents and the community regarding campus and district performance.
Education Code 39.053(a-1)
Districts and campuses must be evaluated based on indicators of achievement grouped in three domains:
- Student achievement domain;
- School progress domain; and
- Closing the gaps domain.
Education Code 39.053(c)
Performance on the achievement indicators in the three domains shall be compared to state-established standards. The indicators must be based on information that is disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Education Code 39.053(b)
Each school district shall submit the data required for the indicators to the commissioner. Education Code 39.053(i)
A–F Performance Ratings
The commissioner shall adopt rules to evaluate district and campus performance and assign each district and campus an overall performance rating of A, B, C, D, or F.
In addition to the overall performance rating, the commissioner shall assign each district and campus a separate domain performance rating of A, B, C, D, or F for each domain under Education Code 39.053(c) [see Achievement Indicators, above].
An overall or domain performance rating of:
- A reflects exemplary performance.
- B reflects recognized performance.
- C reflects acceptable performance.
- D reflects performance that needs improvement.
- F reflects unacceptable performance.
A district may not receive an overall or domain performance rating of A if the district includes any campus with a corresponding overall or domain performance rating of D or F. A reference in law to an acceptable rating or acceptable performance includes an overall or domain performance rating of A, B, C, or D or exemplary, recognized, or acceptable performance, or performance that needs improvement.
For purposes of assigning districts and campuses an overall and a domain performance rating, the commissioner shall ensure that the method used to evaluate performance is implemented in a manner that provides the mathematical possibility that all districts and campuses receive an A rating.
Not later than August 15 of each year, the performance ratings of each district and campus shall be made publicly available as provided by rules adopted by the commissioner.
Education Code 39.054(a), (a-3), (b)
Local Accountability System
The local accountability system standards established by the commissioner under Education Code 39.0544 shall be used by districts to develop a plan to locally evaluate the performance of their campuses. 19 TAC 97.1003(a)
Local Accountability Plan
A local accountability plan created by a district must include domain performance ratings assigned by the commissioner under Education Code 39.054, and performance ratings based on locally developed domains or sets of accountability measures. 19 TAC 97.1003(b)
A district must create its local accountability plan based on school type. The four school types are elementary school, middle school, high school, and kindergarten–grade 12. The plan must include all campuses within a school type. The district may also request to identify an additional school group within a school type for which to customize its local accountability plan. Otherwise, all campuses within a school type must be evaluated on a common set of components determined by the district. A district may also request to identify a campus rated under alternative education accountability provisions as a unique school type. 19 TAC 97.1003(b)(4)
A locally developed domain or set of accountability measures is referred to as a plan component. Plan components must describe each item and the reason for its inclusion in the plan. A district must assign each component to one of the following five domains: academics, culture and climate, extra- and co-curricular, future-ready learning, and locally determined. The weight of all plan components must equal 100 percent.19 TAC 97.1003(b)(1)
A district may assign weights to each plan component, as determined by the district, provided that the plan components must in the aggregate account for no more than 50 percent of the combined overall performance rating. A local accountability plan may include no fewer than two and no more than ten components weighted between 5 percent and 60 percent. 19 TAC 97.1003(c)
Each plan component must contain levels of performance that allow for differentiation, with assigned standards for achieving the differentiated levels that are aligned to a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F and meet the requirements of 19 Administrative Code 97.1003(d)(1)–(3). 19 TAC 97.1003(d)
Each plan component measure must meet standards for reliability and validity as required by 19 Administrative Code 97.1003(e)(1)–(3). 19 TAC 97.1003(e)
Campuses without STAAR or State Ratings
For the purposes of assigning state accountability ratings, a campus that does not serve any grade level for which a State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) examination is administered is paired with a campus in its district that serves grade levels for which STAAR examinations are administered.
A campus not rated under the state accountability system is not eligible to combine state and local ratings. Local accountability data for a campus without state ratings may be displayed on TEA, district, and campus websites but will not be combined with state accountability data. The state accountability manual adopted under 19 Administrative Code 97.1001 (Accountability Rating System) provides information about campus ratings and eligibility for applicable years.
19 TAC 97.1003(b)(3)
Campus Performance Ratings
A district authorized to assign campus performance ratings shall evaluate the performance of each campus and assign each campus a performance rating of A, B, C, D, or F for overall performance and for each locally developed domain or set of accountability measures. Not later than a date established by the commissioner, the district shall:
- Report the performance ratings to the agency; and
- Make the performance ratings available to the public as provided by commissioner rule.
Education Code 39.0544(e)
Each campus with an approved district plan is eligible to receive a local accountability rating. A campus with an overall state accountability rating of C or higher based on ratings derived from student performance at the campus is eligible to combine an overall local accountability rating with the overall state accountability rating to determine the combined rating. 19 TAC 97.1003(b)(2); Education Code 39.054(a)
Submission and Audit Standards
Calculations for each plan component and overall performance ratings must be capable of being audited by a third party.
A district must use a one-to-one correspondence when converting campus grades based on plan component measures to a standard scale of 30–100 where A=90–100, B=80–89, C=70–79, D=60–69, and F=30–59. Categorical data, or data not on a continuous scale, must be converted to the standard scale of A=90–100, B=80–89, C=70–79, D=60–69, and F=30–59 by assigning the maximum value for each scaled score interval with the corresponding category used in the campus rating scale.
A district is required to submit local accountability plan component, domain, and overall scaled scores and ratings to TEA by the first week of July of the applicable accountability year.
All scaled scores and letter grades submitted by a school district are subject to audit. Any data discrepancies or any indication that data have been compromised may result in verification and audit of district and campus data used to assign local accountability ratings. The audit process may include requests for data used for campus-level calculation of component and domain scaled scores.
On an annual basis, TEA will randomly select districts for local accountability audits, and, for each such audit, TEA will randomly select components for review. Selected districts must submit the requested data for review within the timeframe specified. A district must maintain documentation of its local accountability plan, along with all associated data used to assign campus ratings, for two years after the end of the plan implementation period.
Responsibility for the accuracy and quality of data used to determine local accountability ratings rests with each district. Superintendent certification of data accuracy during the ratings submission process shall include an assurance that calculations have been verified to ensure that all data were included as appropriate for all components.
19 TAC 97.1003(f)(1)–(6)
Scorecard and Website
A district must produce a campus scorecard and make available on the district website an explanation of the methodology used to assign local accountability performance ratings. The campus scorecard shall include, at a minimum, the scaled score and rating for each component and domain along with the overall rating. A link to the local accountability ratings posted by the district must be provided to TEA and may be included on the agency-developed school report card. 19 TAC 97.1003(g)
Appeal and Revision
An appeal of a local accountability rating may be submitted by the superintendent once ratings are released. The local accountability appeals timeline follows the appeal deadline dates and processes as described in the state accountability manual adopted under 19 Administrative Code 97.1001 of this title for the applicable year. 19 TAC 97.1003(f)(7)
Ratings may be revised as a result of investigative activities by the commissioner as authorized under Education Code 39.057(d) and (e). 19 TAC 97.1003(h)
Distinction Designations for Outstanding Performance
The commissioner shall award distinction designations for outstanding performance. A distinction designation awarded to a district or campus shall be referenced directly in connection with the performance rating assigned to the district or campus and made publicly available together with the A–F performance ratings.
A district or campus may not be awarded a distinction designation unless the district or campus has acceptable performance under the A–F performance ratings.
Education Code 39.201
The commissioner shall establish an academic distinction designation for districts and campuses for outstanding performance in attainment of postsecondary readiness based on the commissioner's adopted criteria. Education Code 39.202
The commissioner shall award a campus a distinction designation for outstanding performance in:
- Improvement in student achievement;
- Closing student achievement differentials; and
- Academic achievement in English language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies.
Education Code 39.203
The commissioner may award a distinction designation for outstanding performance in advanced middle or junior high school student achievement. Education Code 39.203(d)
Except as listed below, a district or campus that is rated A (exemplary) is exempt from requirements and prohibitions imposed under the Education Code, including regulations adopted under the Education Code.
An exemplary campus or district is not exempt from:
- A prohibition on conduct that constitutes a criminal offense;
- Requirements imposed by federal law or rule, including requirements for special education or bilingual education programs;
- A requirement, restriction, or prohibition relating to:
- Curriculum essential knowledge and skills or high school graduation requirements;
- Public school accountability;
- Extracurricular activities;
- Health and safety;
- Elementary class size limits;
- Removal of a disruptive student from the classroom;
- At-risk programs;
- Prekindergarten programs;
- Rights and benefits of school employees;
- Special education programs; or
- Bilingual education programs.
The commissioner may exempt an exemplary campus from class size limits if the campus submits a written plan showing steps that will be taken to ensure that the exemption will not be harmful to the academic achievement of the students on the school campus. If granted, the exemption remains in effect until the commissioner determines that achievement levels of the campus have declined.
Education Code 39.232