Accountability Ratings of Elementary Schools: Student Demographics Matter

  • Cynthia Martinez-Garcia Sam Houston State University
  • Kimberly LaPrairie Sam Houston State University
  • John R Slate Sam Houston State University
Keywords: elementary schools, student demographics, accountability ratings


The researchers examined the most recent year of data (i.e., 2008-2009) from the Texas Academic Excellence Indicator System regarding accountability ratings and student characteristics (i.e., ethnicity, programmatic enrollment, mobility) in elementary schools (n = 4,110). Accountability ratings (i.e., Exemplary, Recognized, Academically Acceptable, and Academically Unacceptable) are assigned primarily based upon school performance on state-mandated tests by student subgroups. Exemplary elementary school campuses had statistically significantly lower percentages of Black students, Hispanic students, at-risk students, economically disadvantaged students, students with Limited English Proficient, and mobility percent (i.e., being at the school less than 83% of the school year) whereas Academically Unacceptable had the highest percentages in all these areas. As such, accountability ratings in Texas elementary schools were clearly related to student characteristics and not just test scores. Implications of these findings and suggestions for further research are discussed.