School Accountability Works In Texas
March 21, 2000
Texas has done a better job than most states in closing the achievement gap between students of different races, and analysts believe they know why: schools have no choice. To earn a "recognized" rating, each school has to make sure that 80 percent of each racial group passes state tests. That's different from rating schools using average scores, which allows schools to focus on higher-performing students. The system forces principals to make sure every group of students is learning.
The improvement was seen within a few years. In 1996 math tests administered nationally:
- Texas black fourth-graders made the largest gains in the country.
- Texas Latino fourth-graders made the second-largest gains in the country.
- Texas black students outscored other black students.
- Latino students in Texas received the second-highest score among Latino students nationally.
The U.S. House has passed a version of Texas accountability for Title I, the program that delivers help to poor schools. When a Senate committee voted on the bill earlier this month, however, it failed to include the provision.
Source: Editorial, "Accountability Narrows Racial Gap in Texas; Expand It," USA Today, March 21, 2000.
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