If you want to learn more about a school, check out the Texas Education Agency's
Web site at www.tea.state.tx.us
. To access detailed information about
a school, click on "AEIS Reports" under the Most Popular Information. After choosing
a year and a school, you will find:
- Test scores, including what percentage of students
in the elementary grades passed the Spanish version of the TAKS and how the
school compares with the district average, the state average and the average
of the campus group, which are those schools that have similar demographics.
- The percentage of students whose passing rate on all
portions of the test are higher than the state's minimum standards, which
in 2003 allowed students to miss more questions and still pass than will
be allowed this year. An even higher passing standard will be required in
- The percentage of students not tested because they
were absent the day of the test or were exempted because they are in special
education or speak limited English.
- The percentage of students speaking limited-English
who are gaining proficiency in the language.
- The high school's annual dropout rate, which is based
on school-reported figures for the 2001-02 school year.
- The high school's four-year dropout rate, which is
based on the percentage of first-time ninth-graders who, after five years,
failed to graduate, pursue a GED or continue a fifth year in high school.
- The percentage of high school students who take advanced
placement tests for college credit.
- Class sizes.
- The percentage of students who are retained in each
grade in elementary and middle school.
- The average experience of teachers and how much they
The TEA Web site also offers education news updates, a description of the new
rating system, information about testing, old tests and an outline of the state-required
curriculum, called Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. Another valuable site
is operated by Just for the Kids, an Austin-based nonprofit organization also
known as the National Center for Educational Accountability. The group analyzes
school performance based on test scores and other data. Its site, www.just4kids.org
, allows parents to compare
their child's school with other schools that have as many or more disadvantaged