Texas Accountability System History

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History of Texas accountability system
A history of the accountability system in Texas provides insight into the current state of school accountability in Texas. The Texas Assessment of Basic Skills (TABS) was a criterion-based assessment created by legislative mandate in 1978 to test basic mathematics, reading and writing skills of students at grades three, five and nine. In 1983 it was mandated that ninth-grade students who failed the test had to re-test each subsequent year. Although students were not denied a diploma for failure, campus and district level performance of students was reported publicly and represented the beginning of ‘high stakes’ accountability for large-scale assessment in Texas (Texas Education Agency, Pearson Education …show more content…

This new assessment tool had two major impacts. First, the expectations for individual students were raised by increasing the difficulty of the material on the assessment—no longer were the tests considered minimal skills tests. Passing each of the reading, writing and mathematics components of the grade 10 test, also known as the exit-level exam, was a requirement for receiving a high school diploma in the state. Second, schools were also held to higher standards with the expectation that not only the campus as whole but the specific subpopulations (African-American, Caucasian, Hispanic, and Economically Disadvantaged) had to achieve minimal standards. Passing rates on these standardized exams, along with attendance and drop-out data were used to assign schools accountability ratings with severe repercussions mandated for schools that were placed at the low end of the accountability scale (Texas Education Agency et al., …show more content…

Carnoy, Loeb, and Smith (2003) found a weakness in the relationships between TAKS scores and other outcomes such as high school graduation rates and scores on college entrance exams. Other researchers (Klein, Hamilton, McCaffrey, & Steecher, 2000) analyzed increases in scores in Texas on the NAEP, increases that they state political leaders attributed to the accountability system, and found that Texas score improvements in mathematics at grade 8 are not significantly different from those of other states that did not have strong accountability systems in place. In fact their data show evidence that the achievement gap between white students and underrepresented minorities actually increased. Some argue that the data show that the accountability program actually negatively impacts schools that were already academically behind before the implementation of the accountability system (Fassold,

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