Glossary of Terms
- Accountability Rating: A rating assigned by TEA based on a school district’s or campuses’ performance on the TAKS, completion rate and annual dropout rate. Possible ratings are:
- Academically Acceptable;
- Academically Unacceptable;
- Not Rated: Other; and
- Not Rated: Data Integrity Issues.
- Accuplacer® Test: A test used by academic advisers and counselors to determine proper course selection for a student in college.
- ACT (American College Test): The ACT is a national college admission and placement examination.
- ACT Test Fee: On September 20, 2010, the fee for taking the ACT non-writing exam is $33 and $48 for the basic test plus the writing test; other fees may apply.
- Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP): Refers to the federally mandated accountability system required by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). All public school districts, campuses and the state are evaluated annually for AYP.
- Adopted Tax Rate: The locally set Maintenance and Operation (M&O) and Interest and Sinking (I&) tax rates combined.
- Advanced Course/Dual Enrollment Completion: This indicator is based on a count of students who complete and receive credit for at least one advanced course in grades 9-12. Advanced courses include dual enrollment courses. Dual enrollment courses are those for which a student gets both high school and college credit.
- Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Programs: AP/IB courses expose high school students to college-level academic rigor and, after completing these courses, students may take an examination in order to receive advanced placement, credit, or both, upon entering college.
- Advanced Placement Course: High school classes through which a student may earn college credit and/or advanced placement in college based on taking the course and an end of year advanced placement exam.
- Advanced Placement Course Test Fees: The basic fee for each Advanced Placement exam is $87; additional fees may apply; reduced fees may be available based on financial need
- AESOP (Automated Substitute Placement & Absence Management): An automated, computerized system for teacher absence management and substitute teacher placement that runs online.
- Alignment of Curriculum: Matching the content of curriculum or instruction with any related assessments or tests.
- Annual Dropout Rate: Number of dropouts divided by the number students who were in attendance at any time during the school year. Beginning with dropouts reported for the 2005-06 school year, TEA used a more rigorous dropout definition, based on the federal definition for dropouts.
- AppliTrack: A computerized job application and employee hiring system.
- ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery): A timed multi-aptitude test, which is developed and maintained by the Department of Defense.
- Athletic Clearing House: More specifically identified as the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Eligibility Center (formerly known as the NCAA Clearinghouse); an agency of the NCAA that certifies the initial eligibility of perspective student-athletes who register to compete as a freshman athlete in Division I and II member institutions.
- At-Risk: Students that are at risk of dropping out of school. The Texas Education Code includes many instances where a student is considered at risk including if the student is not advancing from one grade to the next, is pregnant or a parent, has been expelled, is homeless, is on probation or parole or other factors.
- Attendance Rate: Based on student attendance for the entire school year for grades 1-12. Total number of days students were present in a school year divided by the total number of days students were in membership in the school year.
- Available School Fund: Consists of transfers from the Permanent School Fund and one quarter of the revenue collections from the motor fuels tax. Amounts are appropriated from the fund for textbooks and to school districts.
- Average Daily Attendance (ADA): Used to count students, primarily to determine state funding. It is calculated by adding the number of students in attendance each day and dividing by the number of instructional days in the school year.
- AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination): A college-readiness system designed to increase the number of students who enroll in four-year colleges that, although it serves all students, focuses on the least served students in the academic middle, B, C, and D students
- Basic Allotment: The base amount per student each district is guaranteed to receive (state and local funds combined). It is used to determine Tier 1 funding through a formula that accounts for different types of students and various allotments.
- Benchmarking (or benchmark assessment): Assessing a student’s level of achievement in comparison to a student’s expected level of achievement at his age, grade, or developmental level.
- CCAP: An online, comprehensive instructional tool that includes assessments, curriculum and instruction resources, professional development, student special population management, and a data warehouse.
- Chapter 41: The chapter in the Texas Education Code with the provisions on recapture. Chapter 41 districts are those with property wealth per weighted average daily attendance (WADA) exceeding the level set in statute.
- Charter School: A school created by the granting of a charter by the Texas State Board of Education pursuant to Chapter 12 of the Texas Education Code.
- College Ready Graduates: A graduate that has met or exceeded the college-ready criteria on the TAKS exit-level test, or the SAT test, or the ACT test. The criteria for each is:
English Language Arts (ELA)
- Exit-level TAKS: A minimum of 2200 scale score on ELA test and a score of 3 or higher on the essay; or
- SAT: A minimum score of 500 on critical reading and a minimum 1070 total score; or
- ACT: A minimum score of 19 for English and a minimum composite score of 23.
- Exit-level TAKS: A minimum of 2200 scale score on the mathematics test; or
- SAT: A minimum score of 500 on math and a minimum 1070 total score; or
- ACT: A minimum score of 19 for math and a minimum composite score of 23.
- Comparable Improvement: A measure that calculates how student performance on the TAKS mathematics and reading/English language arts tests has changed (or grown) from one year to the next, and compares the change to that of the 40 schools that are demographically most similar to the target school.
- Completion Rate: There are two “completion rates,” “Completion Rate I” and “Completion Rate II.” Completion Rate I is a longitudinal rate that shows the percent of students who have graduated or are continuing their education four years after they first attended grade 9 of high school. Completion Rate II is a longitudinal rate that shows the percentage of students who have graduated, earned their General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or are continuing their education four years after they first attended grade 9 of high school.
- Completion Rate I (without GED): the share of students who received their high school diplomas by the expected graduation date and those who were still enrolled as high school students for the following school year.
- Completion Rate II (with GED): the share of students who received their high school diplomas or GEDs by the expected graduation date and those who were still enrolled as high school students for the following school year.
- Composite Academic Progress Percentile: Percentile ranking of combined annual academic student growth in math and reading. Values range from 1 (low) to 99 (high) with 50 being the state average.
- Compressed Tax Rate: House Bill 1, 2006, Third Called Session required districts to lower, or compress, their M&O tax rate. This new lowered rate is known as the compressed rate.
Core Operating Expenditures per Pupil – Operating expenditures, excluding food and transportation, divided by the number of students.
- Cost Adjusted Spending (Campus): A three-year average of a campus’s operating expenditures for campus-related activities after adjusting for regional differences in the cost of labor. Campus-related expenditures include instruction, instructional services, instructional leadership, school leadership and student support services.
- Cost Adjusted Spending (District): A three-year average of a district’s core operating expenditures per pupil after adjusting payroll and contracted services for regional differences in the cost of labor. This does not include food service, transportation, debt service, capital outlay, or community services.
- Critical Need Aide: a personal aide provided to accompany a disabled student and provide him with personal care services when the student is unable to care for his own physical needs.
- CSCOPE: a computerized curriculum support system provided by the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative.
- DMAC (Data Management for Assessment and Curriculum): a component of Texas’ Region VII Education Service Center that supplies Texas educators with tools and services to develop and improve the quality of education provided to students, including software .
- Double-route Bus System: Either using a bus to run two routes to two different schools whose start times are different (such as an elementary school and a middle school) or using a bus to run two different routes to the same school, one after the other.
- Dual Credit Course: an opportunity and agreement though which a student may earn high school credit for successfully completing a college course that covers all the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) of any specified high school course as provided in 19 TAC §74.25; the “dual credit” earned is college credit and high school credit for one course.
- Economically Disadvantaged: Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch or other public assistance.
- ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilation system): a building ventilation system in which air being removed from a building is removed through a duct which is immediately adjacent to another duct through which air is being brought into the building; the adjacent ducts share a common wall which divides the two ducts and is comprised of heat transferring material; the temperatures of the air being removed and the air being brought into the building are brought closer together through the shared heat exchanging wall.
- Existing Debt Allotment (EDA): A program that provides funding to school districts to help pay down debt on bonds previously issued by the district for facilities. It guarantees $35 (state and local revenue combined) per student for every penny levied up to $0.29. Similar to the Instructional Facilities Allotment program except the EDA is for previously issued debt while the IFA program assists school districts with debt on new instructional facilities.
- FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid): an application required to be completed and submitted to be eligible for financial assistance that is available through the United States Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid, including grants, work-study, and loans.
- FAST Rating: Combination of Spending Index and Composite Progress Percentile. Values range from 1 star (Very High spending/Low Composite progress) to 5 stars (Very Low spending/High Composite progress).
- Fiscal Peers: A cost comparison group consisting of up to 40 districts (or campuses) most fiscally similar to each district (or campus). Cost factors to determine fiscal peers include size, location, cost-adjusted wages and student characteristics. Each district (or campus) can have a unique fiscal peer group, though due to similarities, many groups overlap.
- Foundation School Fund: A state fund used for education consisting of revenue dedicated by the Texas Constitution of one quarter of all occupation taxes and profits from the state lottery. However, since these sources do not provide for the total cost of public education, the fund is comprised primarily of amounts transferred from the state’s General Revenue Fund.
- Foundation School Program: Administered by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) this is the primary program for determining the amount of state and local funding due to school districts and the distribution of state aid to school districts.
- Free or Reduced Lunch Program: also known as the National School Lunch Program, a federally assisted meal program operating in public and non-profit private schools and residential child care institutions that provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each day and is administered through the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.
- Geothermal Ground Source Heat Pumps: HVAC pumps which are located underground for the purpose of accomplishing the heat exchange necessary to heat or cool a building underground, rather than above ground as conventional HVAC systems, for the purpose of effecting the heat exchange in temperature environment that is more consistent that the open air.
- Gold Performance Acknowledgment: acknowledges districts and campuses for high performance on indicators other than those used to determine accountability ratings such as Advanced Course/Dual Enrollment, Completion AP/IB Examination Results, Attendance Rate, and others.
- Graduation Rate: see “Completion Rate,” above.
- Guaranteed Yield: Refers to an amount of revenue per student the state guarantees a district will receive based on the districts local tax effort. For every cent a district raises its tax rate, the state will supplement the amount of revenue raised with additional amounts so that local and state amounts together will equal a guaranteed yield per student.
- Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA): A program that provides funding to school districts to help pay down debt on bonds issued by the district for new facilities. For each penny levied by the district to fund these facilities, the IFA program will provide a guaranteed amount (state and local combined) of $35 per student. Similar to the Existing Debt Allotment program except the IFA is for debt on new instructional facilities while the EDA program assists school districts with debt on previously existing facilities.
- Instructional Spending Ratio (Spending by Program): The percentage of total actual expenditures used for direct instructional activities.
- Interest and Sinking (I&S) Fund Tax Rate: Tax rate levied by districts to pay for any bond debt that may have been issued to fund the construction of schools and facilities.
- Leaver: Districts are required to report to the state the status of previous year students that are no longer enrolled, or leavers. Leavers include students that graduated, moved to another state or country, died, or dropped out.
- Limited English Proficient (LEP): Students that have limited proficiency with the English language and do not meet the Texas Administrative Code’s English Language Proficiency Standards. Most of these students are enrolled in Bilingual Education/English as a Second Language programs.
- Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Tax Rate: Tax rate levied by districts to fund the operations and maintenance of schools.
- Mastery Teaching: a way of teaching which is differentiated from conventional teaching in so far as conventional teaching allocates a fixed amount of time in which a student must learn the material presented and mastery teaching is characterized by flexibility regarding the amount of time devoted to teaching particular material and devoting the amount of time required by the student to learn the material at hand.
- Math Progress Percentile: Percentile ranking of annual student academic growth in math. Values range from 1 (low) to 99 (high) with 50 being the state average.
- Payroll Costs (Spending by Object): Payroll expenditures divided by the number of students.
- Payroll Expenditures: Gross salaries, wages and benefits for all employees.
- Permanent School Fund: An established endowment consisting of state-owned land and mineral rights, royalty earnings, stock, bonds. The fund is designed to be a perpetual funding source for education in Texas. Earnings from this endowment are transferred to the Available School Fund.
- Property Tax Relief Fund: Established by the Legislature in 2006 the fund consists of revenue gained from changes made to the state franchise tax, cigarette and tobacco taxes, and tax on the sale of used motor vehicles. These amounts were intended to replace lost revenue from lowered M&O property tax rates.
- PSAT: Preliminary SAT / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test; a program co-sponsored by the college board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC); a standardized test that provides first hand practice for the SAT and gives students a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools.
- Public, Open Enrollment Charter School: a school created by the granting of a charter by the Texas State Board of Education pursuant to Subchapter D, Chapter 12 of the Texas Education Code.
- Ratio of Budgeted to Actual Expenditures: The ratio of budgeted expenditures to actual expenditures.
- Reading Progress Percentile: Percentile ranking of annual student academic growth in reading/English Language Arts. Values range from 1 (low) to 99 (high) with 50 being the state average.
- Recapture: Established in Chapter 41 of the Texas Education Code, this system redistributes revenue from property wealthy districts to poorer ones. Districts that have property wealth per student above the statutory limit remit excess local revenue to the state for redistribution to districts with lower property wealth.
- RHSP/DAP Graduates: The percent of graduates who were reported as having satisfied the course requirements for the Texas State Board of Education Recommended High School Program or Distinguished Achievement Program. Number of graduates reported with graduation codes for Recommended High School Program or Distinguished Achievement Program divided by number of graduates.
- SAT: a standardized test for college admissions
- SAT Test Fee: the current (9/22/2010) fee for taking the basic SAT is $47; fees for subject matter tests vary beginning at $21 (+ $21 for language tests with listening and + $10 for all other tests).
- SAT/ACT Results: Three values are calculated for this indicator:
- Tested: Number of graduates who took either the SAT or the ACT divided by number of non-special education graduates;
- At/Above Criterion: Number of examinees who scored at or above criterion divided by number of examinees; and
- Average Score: Total score (mathematics plus critical reading) for all students who took the SAT divided by number of students who took the SAT and total composite score for all students who took the ACT divided by number of students who took the ACT.
- Spending Index: Quintile ranking of a district’s (or campus’s) cost-adjusted operating expenditures relative to their fiscal peer group. Ranges from Very Low to Very High.
- STAAR: The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR). This new assessment tool will replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).
- TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills): The current state testing program administered to public school students grades 3-11 and designed to assess students’ mastery of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the state’s standard curriculum.
- TAKS Accommodated: TAKS test for students who require specific accommodations and are served by special education programs. These accommodations include format changes such as larger font and fewer items per page and no field test questions.
- TAKS Commended: This measure refers to the highest performance level on the TAKS, a scale score of 2400, as set by the State Board of Education. Students who achieve Commended Performance have shown a thorough understanding of the knowledge and skills at their grade level.
- TAKS Exit-level Cumulative Pass Rate: Shows the percent of students who first took the TAKS exit:level test in the spring, and eventually passed all TAKS tests taken (in the same district) by the next spring.
- TAKS Met Standard: This refers to the current TAKS passing standard—a scale score of 2100 on each tested subject and grade.
- TAKS Participation: The percent of students tested and not tested on each state assessment, as well as the percent of students included and excluded in determining accountability ratings.
- TAKS Progress Measure: Based on tests taken. It sums performance results across grades 3 through 12 and across all subjects. It is calculated as the number of TAKS tests that meet the standard or meet TPM (grade 3-10) or meet TGI (grade 11) and the number of TAKS exit-level retests that meet the standard divided by the number of TAKS tests taken and the number of TAKS exit-level retests that meet the standard.
- TAKS Special Education Assessments: The TAKS Accommodated, TAKS-Modified, and TAKS:Alternate versions of the TAKS test.
- TAKS Tests: A group of standardized tests used in Texas primary and secondary schools to assess students’ attainment of various skills required under Texas’ education standards.
- TAKS-Alternate (TAKS-Alt): A version of the TAKS for students with significant cognitive disabilities and based on alternate academic achievement standards.
- TAKS-Modified (TAKS-M): A version of the TAKS test, for special education students, which covers the same grade-level content as the general TAKS, but may include less difficult questions.
- Target Revenue: The revenue target is a specific amount of funding that the state guarantees to a school district in exchange for the district lowering its M&O tax rate. The revenue target amount is different for each school district and is based on the M&O revenue a district would have earned had it not lowered its tax rate. The revenue target was created by the property-tax-relief provisions in House Bill 1, 79th Texas Legislature, Third Called Session, 2006 (HB 1 [79-3]). The revenue target formulas were modified by the 81st Texas Legislature in 2009 with HB 3646.
- Target Testing: An assessment process that informs teachers (and administrators) about what students know and don’t know in relation to a state’s education standards that is used as a guide for future instruction.
- TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills): The state-mandated curriculum of academic standards for students.
- Texas Growth Index (TGI): Estimate of a student s academic growth on the TAKS tests over two consecutive years (in consecutive grades).
- Tier 1: The first level of the school finance system formula that includes a basic allotment per student plus adjustments made for different types of students and various additional allotments (including those for school facilities).
- Tier 2: Districts have discretion in raising revenue to fund education above the Tier 1 funding level through “enrichment”, or Tier 2. For every cent a district raises its M&O rate above its compressed rate, the state will supplement the amount of revenue raised with additional amounts so that local and state amounts together will equal a “guaranteed yield” per student.
- Total Expenditures per Pupil: The sum of all expenditures divided by the number of students.
- TPRI (Texas Primary Reading Inventory): an assessment tool that provides a comprehensive picture of a student’s reading/language arts development.
- Triple-Route Bus System: Either using a bus to run three routes to three different schools whose start times are different (such as an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school) or using a bus to run three different routes to the same school, one after the other.
- Vertical Alignment of Curriculum: A curriculum in which concepts and skills build seamlessly from one grade to the next (from Kindergarten through the 12th grade) to assure that there are no gaps or unintended redundancies in the learning experience for students.
- Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA): A calculated number that represents the number of students for which a district receives funding after adjusting for special needs. It is calculated by dividing the cost of tier one (adjusted) by the basic allotment.