One of the contributions of the Texas school reform movement was a focus on racial and economic equity. The reforms required that data be gathered and reported on the basis of both race and income. The formal state accountability system, in fact, requires a given level of performance on all racial subgroups. Four other TAAS/TAKS measures are also useful as performance indicators: pass rates for Anglo, black, Latino, and low-income students. 19 Low-income students are defined as those eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches; this is an income criterion, established by the federal government, that is linked to the official poverty level. Many parents and policy makers are also concerned with the performance of school districts regarding college-bound students. Four measures of college-bound student performance were used: the percentage of students who took either of the college board exams, the average ACT (American College Testing) score, the average SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) score, and the percentage of students who score above 1,110 on the SAT (or its ACT equivalent). Texas is one of the few states in which both the ACTand the SAT are taken by sufficient numbers to provide reliable indicators of both; as with samples drawn from other states, there is no correlation between these scores and the number of students taking them if the proportion of tested students is more than 30 percent of the total eligible to be tested (Smith 2003). Texas scores on the ACT and SAT are generally uncorrelated with the percentage of students taking the exams. Because most colleges and univer- sities require either the ACTor the SAT, students who do not take one of the exams are unlikely to go on to attend college. The 1,110 measure, the equivalent of the top 20 percent nationally, is defined by the state of Texas as an indicator of college readiness. The college-related scores, or higher-end performance scores, are clearly distinct from the TAAS/TAKS scores. The twenty intercorrelations between the TAAS/TAKS and the college scores average 0.27, or about 7 percent shared variance (the highest correlation is between SAT scores and the overall TAAS/TAKS pass rate, 0.48). Interestingly, the college indicators are not highly intercorrelated, except for the correlation between the 1,110 þ measure and the average SAT and ACT measures (0.75 and 0.76, respect- ively). The correlation between ACT scores and SAT scores is only 0.58, which is surprising, since both are intended to measure the potential for students to succeed in college. 48 A model of public management, and evidence
The final two measures of performance might be termed bottom-end indicators: attendance rates and dropout rates. High attendance rates are valued for two reasons. Students are unlikely to learn if they are not in class, and state aid is allocated to the school district based, in part, on average daily attendance. Attendance, as a result, is a good indicator of low-end perform- ance by these organizations; the measure is simply the average percentage of students who are not absent. The attendance measure is distinct from the
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