Glossary of Terms

This is a list of terms used in reports generated by the Dallas Independent School District and the Texas Education Agency (TEA). 

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Accountability Rating System:
Current Texas Education Agency (TEA) system for evaluating Texas schools and districts. Schools and districts are rated on four indexes: Student Achievement, Student Progress, Closing Performance Gap, and Postsecondary Readiness.

See Assessment of Course Performance (ACP).

See American College Test (ACT).

See Average Daily Attendance (ADA).

See Average Daily Membership (ADM).

Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Committee:
Required, campus-based committee for each eligible student with a disability and for each student for whom a full and individual evaluation to Referral for Full and Individual Initial Evaluation is conducted. This committee creates an individualized education program (IEP) for each disabled student.

Advanced Placement (AP) Courses:
A series of courses administered by the College Board that high school students can take to earn college credit. In order to earn college credit in an AP course, students must demonstrate their mastery of higher level coursework and pass an accompanying course-relevant test.

Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations:
National end-of-course examinations for students who have completed an associated Advanced Placement (AP) course. Results are used to determine if a student will receive college credit for the course.

American College Test (ACT): College entrance exam completed by students in grades 11 and 12. This exam assesses students' grasp of concepts in the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and Writing. The composite score ranges from 11 to 36.

AP Courses:
See Advanced Placement (AP) Courses.

AP Examinations:
See Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations.

ARD Committee:
See Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Committee.

Assessment of Course Performance (ACP):
A set of district-developed, standardized, criterion-referenced tests aimed at providing uniform, districtwide measures of student progress toward mastery of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, foreign languages, technology, fine arts, and physical education. The ACPs are administered at the end of each semester to students in grades K-12.

At-Risk Student:
Student deemed to have a higher probability of dropping out of school based on certain socio-economic challenges and performance criteria. These criteria include being retained for one or more years, failing one or more state assessments, being pregnant or currently a teen parent, being homeless, being an Emergent Bilingual (EB) student, being placed in an alternative education setting in the current or prior years, being on conditional release, being expelled, and previously dropping out of school. Such students are deemed "at-risk" of failing the current grade or dropping out of school.

Average Daily Attendance (ADA):
Average number of students in attendance at the school on any given day, which is the total number of eligible days attended by students divided by the number of school days in that year.

Average Daily Membership (ADM):
Average number of students enrolled on any given day at the school, which is the total number of days enrolled by all eligible students divided by the number of school days in that year.

Average Yearly Transactions (AYT):
Percentage of the average number of students enrolled at the school on any given day that transfer or withdraw from the school. See Average Daily Membership (ADM).

See Average Yearly Transactions (AYT).


Bilingual Education (BE) Program:
A full-time program of instruction in which both the student's home language and English are used for instruction. The amount of instruction provided in each language corresponds with the student's level of proficiency in each language as well as their level of academic achievement.

Bilingual Education Not Emergent Bilingual (BE Not EB):
Students served with Bilingual Education due to parental request that are not Emergent Bilingual (EB) students.


Campus Improvement Plan (CIP):
An outline of the instructional targets that campuses must address for the purpose of improving student performance for all student populations. Additionally, schools are required to meet all federal, state, and local mandates.

Campus Instructional Leadership Team (CILT):
A team of campus administrators and teachers who participate in the development of the Campus Improvement Plan (CIP) for improving student achievement.

See Classroom Effectiveness Index (CEI).

Chapter 1:
Former name of the federal educational program, Title I.

See Campus Instructional Leadership Team (CILT).

See Campus Improvement Plan (CIP).

Classroom Effectiness Index (CEI):
A value-added measure of the amount of academic progress that a teacher afforded his or her students after a year of instruction. CEIs evaluate a student's performance on select, summative standardized tests by comparing his or her performance to that of similar students in the district.

A group of students who follow the same testing pattern for two consecutive years and were promoted from one grade to the next. For example, a comparison of the performance of last year's grade 3 students on the state reading exam to their grade 4 results on this year's state reading exam. Cohort data enables one to compare the progress of a set of students over several years as each year they progress from one grade to the next. See .

College Board:
A nonprofit organization comprised of colleges, universities, and other agencies and associations that provide services to secondary and post-secondary students, the main goal of this organization is to assist students in moving from secondary education to higher education. Programs administered by the College Board include the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the Advanced Placement (AP) program, among others.

Continuously Enrolled:
A student who has not missed more than a set number of days in a course. Absences, late enrollment, withdrawals, or transfers to another campus result in days counted towards this maximum. A student who misses more than a set number of days in a course prior to the main course-relevant and term-appropriate norm- or criterion-referenced test. This "set number of days" is 20 for year-long courses, prorated from the first instructional day of the term to the last instructional day of the course-relevant testing period. For semester-long courses, this "set number of days" is 10.

Criterion-Referenced Test (CRT):
A pass-fail test that measures students' understanding of concepts on specific content area. For example, the State Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) is a criterion-referenced test.

Cross-Sectional Comparison:
A comparison between the prior year's students in a specific grade to the current year's students in that same grade. For example, a comparison of last year's grade 3 students' performance on the state reading to this year's grade 3 students' performance on the state reading exam. See Cohort.

See Criterion-Referenced Test (CRT).

The subject matter taught in a course or set of courses.


Diagnostic Skills Profile (DSP):

District-created test that covered every Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) student expectation. The Spanish version of this test is Perfil Diagnestico de Destrezas (PDD). This test is no longer administered in Dallas ISD.

District Number:
The six-digit number for Dallas ISD assigned by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), 057905.

Students who have left Dallas ISD as identified by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Drop-out information lags behind one academic year in order to enable the TEA to locate students who left Dallas ISD and enrolled in another school district in Texas.

See Diagnostic Skills Profiles (DSP).


EB Exited Student:
Student received either bilingual education (BE) or English as a second language (ESL) services and has met all emergent bilingual (EB) program exit criteria. A student whose parents denied BE and/or ESL services, and subsequently met EB Exit criteria are not considered an exited EB student.

Emergent Bilingual (EB):
Any student whose home language is not English and is identified by the Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC) based on the state criteria.

Economically Disadvantaged :
Texas Education Agency (TEA) nomenclature for low socio-economic status students used for the state accountability system. Economically disadvantaged are coded as 1 (Eligible for Free Meals), 2 (Eligible for Reduced Meals), and 99 (Other Reasons).

ELA Test:
See English Language Arts (ELA) Test.

English as a Second Language (ESL):
Programs pertaining to the teaching of emergent bilingual (EB) students.

English Language Arts (ELA) Test:
The combined Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test at the high school level that tests both reading and writing.

See English as a Second Language (ESL).


First Time Test Taker:
Student attempting exit level Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), grades 5 and 8 Reading and Mathematics State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test, or STAAR end-of-course (STAAR EOC) subject tests for the first time.



IDEA Language Proficiency Tests (IPT):
Assessments created to evaluated English language proficiency in children in prekindergarten through grade 12.

See Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Individualized Education Program (IEP):
A document created for each student that receives special education services that describes the student's current skills, states the goals for targeted services, and outlines the strategies that will be used to achieve those goals.

See IDEA Language Proficiency Tests (IPT).




Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC):
A campus-based committee responsible for identifying, placing, and exiting or reclassifying Emergent Bilingual (EB) students. The committee is comprised of teachers, administrators, parents, and an Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee member when appropriate for special education (Sp. Ed.) students.

Low-SES Students:
Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, come from a family with an annual income at or below the official poverty line, are eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or other public assistance, received a Pell Grant or comparable state program of need-based financial assistance, are eligible for programs assisted under the Title II of the Job Training Partnership (JTPA), or are eligible for benefits under the Food Stamp Act of 1977. See
Socio-Economic Status.

See Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC).


The sum of all scores divided by the total number of scores. Also referred to as the average.

The score that lies in the middle if all scores are arranged in increasing (or decreasing) order.

Migrant Education:
Education programs established mainly to meet the needs of children of farm workers who often face such challenges as poverty, poor health care, and the readjustments of moving often from school to school.


See National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP):
A national testing program administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the U.S. Department of Education. Known as "the nation's report card." Since 1969, NAEP tests have been conducted periodically in reading, math, science, writing, history, and geography. The NAEP main assessment allows for regional and state-by-state comparisons of the educational attainment of 4th, 8th, and 12th grade students.

See Normal Curve Equivalent (NCE).

Normal Curve Equivalent (NCE):
A method of standardizing scores on a test into a 0-100 scale similar to a percentile rank, but preserving the valuable equal-interval properties of a z-score. A NCE score of 50 represents the national average of any grade level at the time of the year the test was normed. A score of 70 is always the same distance above grade level, regardless of the level tested, and is twice as far above grade level as a score of 60. NCEs have a standard deviation of 21.06.

Norm-Referenced Test (NRT):
A test that allows a student's performance to be compared with the performance of students across the nation.

See Norm-Referenced Test (NRT).


Original DISD Entry Date:
The date that a student enrolls in a Dallas ISD school for the first time.

Other Schools:
Schools that are not included in Dallas ISD accountability systems, such as School Effectiveness Indices (SEIs).


Passing Rate:
The percentage of students who pass the assessment of interest. District-, school-, grade-, and class-level passing rates are calculated for various student subgroups. The State Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) passing rate is synonymous with "Satisfactory" performance or meeting minimum expectations.

See Perfil Diagnostico de Destrezas (PDD).

Percent Average Daily Attendance:
Average Daily Attendance (ADA) divided by Average Daily Membership (ADM), expressed as a percentage.

Percent Meeting Minimum Expectation:
See Passing Rate.

The rank of a student's score compared to all other students in the population of interest. In a national comparison, if a student scored at the 60th percentile, then 60% of the students nationally scored below this student in this particular test in that year.

Perfil Diagnstico de Destrezas:
The Spanish version of the Diagnostic Skills Profile (DSP). This test is no longer administered in Dallas ISD.

A systematic and organized collection of a student's work throughout a course or class year. It measures the student's knowledge and skills and often includes some form of self-reflection by the student.

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT):
An examination often used as preparation for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).

See Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT).



Rating (State Accountability):
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) assigned rating of schools based primarily on State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) performance and graduation rates. The ratings are Met Standard, Met Alternative Standard, and Improvement Required.

Reading Proficiency Test in English (RPTE):
Assessment created by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) that measures English language learners' reading skills. Used to determine if it is appropriate for students to take the state assessment in English or Spanish in subsequent school years. The Texas English Language Proficiency System (TELPAS) serves as the current RPTE.

Readiness Standards:
Concepts that are to be taught in public schools that help prepare students for success in workplace or in college or university courses.

A test created by the College Board to measure the development of reading, writing, and mathematics skills in students in grades 7 and 8. As a precursor to the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), it provides an early estimate of students' preparedness for college coursework.

Ready to STAAR:
Locally-created assessment that measures grade 3-11 students' mastery of the Readiness Standards taught during the current year. Readiness standards in the core subject areas of Reading, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies are of particular interest.

Ready to STAAR(t):
Locally-created assessment that evaluates grade 3-11 students' grasp of the Readiness Standards covered in the prior grade. Readiness Standards in the core subject areas of Reading, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies are of particular interest.

Reporting School:
The schools or campuses at which a student attends classes. May differ from the school at which the student is officially enrolled. For example, students enrolled at the TAG magnet, have a Reporting School SLN of 039, but their Official School Location is Townview, SLN 041.

Retention Rate:
Percentage of students who repeat a grade.

See Reading Proficiency Test in English (RPTE).


See Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT):
A standardized test taken by college-bound students that is designed to predict students' college-preparedness. The SAT is a test of verbal and mathematical reasoning ability. It is designed to predict who will do well in college. The SAT Subject Tests are tests of current ability and knowledge in high school subject areas such as Literature, Biology, and U.S. History.

School Effectiveness Index (SEI):
A fair, value added measure of how well a school performed, taking into account the known factors over which the teachers and school have no control. SEIs factor out socio-economic status, language proficiency, gender, and previous achievement at the student level as well as a number of school level factors. All SEIs are centered around a District mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10. Indices of 50 or above denote areas in which the school met or exceeded the District average.

School Location Number (SLN):
A unique number assigned by Dallas ISD to each school. The three-digit Texas Education Agency (TEA) number and the SLN are the same for most schools, except for vanguards, some magnet schools, and academies.

See State Developed Alternative Assessment (SDAA).

See School Effectiveness Index (SEI).

Similar Students:
For the purpose of computing School and Classroom Effectiveness Indices (SEIs and CEIs), students who have the same demographic characteristics (i.e. gender, Emergent Bilingual (EB) status, special education status, socio-economic status, and three neighborhood characteristics) and the same level of achievement on the same prior-year tests.

See School Location Number (SLN).

Socio-Economic Status:
An indicator that identifies whether a student meets at least one of the economically disadvantaged criteria. See Low-SES and Economically Disadvantaged.

Sp. Ed.:
See Special Education (Sp. Ed.).

Special Education (Sp. Ed.):
Programs designed to serve children with special mental and physical needs. Such children are entitled to individualized education plans that spell out the services needed to reach their educational goals, ranging from speech therapy to math tutoring. Traditionally, special education has taken place in separate classrooms. Increasingly, the services may also be offered in regular schools and classrooms.

See Student Support Team (SST).

See State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR).

Stability Rate:
Number of continuously enrolled students divided by Average Daily Membership (ADM) expressed as a percentage.

Standard Deviation:
A measure of the variations of scores about the mean. For most test data, 68% of the scores are within one standard deviation of the mean, and 95% of the scores are within 2 standard deviations of the mean.

Subject-matter benchmarks used to measure students' academic achievement. Curriculum standards drive what students learn in the classroom.

Stanford 9 (SAT 9):
The ninth edition of the national norm-referenced test that measures grade K-9 students' understanding of concepts in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics.

State Developed Alternative Assessment (SDAA):
The assessment for a student with an individualized instruction plan that is taught the state Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum at an instruction level below the grade level.

State ID:
An eight-digit identification number beginning with the letter "S" assigned to students that do not have a Social Security Number. This is a TEA requirement.

State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR):
State assessment created to measure grade 3-12 students' knowledge of concepts in the core subject areas. The grade 3-8 tests measure students' mastery of grade-relevant core subject areas, while the end-of-course tests assess students' course-specific knowledge in the core subject areas of interest. Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies are the core subject areas of interest.

Student Support Team (SST):
Campus-based team comprised of the school counselor, Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) chair, and other designated persons.


TAG Program:
See Talented and Gifted (TAG) Program.

TAG Student:
Talented and Gifted (TAG) Student.

Talented and Gifted (TAG) Program:
Special practices, procedures, and theories used in the education of children who have been identified as gifted or talented.

Talented and Gifted (TAG) Student :
Students who demonstrate an exceptional ability to learn or demonstrate high level performance in one or more domains.

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).

See Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Teacher Excellence Initiatve (TEI):
New system used to evaluate and define teacher excellence within Dallas ISD. Three key components are examined: teacher performance, student achievement, and student survey.

TEA Number:
See Texas Education Agency (TEA) Number.

See Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI).

See Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

See Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS).

Test Levels:
Different forms of norm-referenced tests. Some talented and gifted (TAG) and Special Education (Sp. Ed.) students are tested at test levels other than the regular assigned testing level.

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS):
A state-mandated, criterion-referenced test in reading (grades 3-8), mathematics (grades 3-11), writing (grades 4 and 7), English language arts (grades 10 and 11), science (grades 5, 8, and 10-11), and social studies (grades 8 and 10-11). This test covered more subjects and was more rigorous than the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS). TAKS tests for students in grades 3-9 were replaced by the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) in 2012.

Texas Education Agency (TEA):
A state agency with board members elected by each educational region of the state and headed by a commissioner appointed by the governor.

Texas Education Agency (TEA) Number:
A three-digit number assigned by the TEA to each school in Texas. Every school in Texas is uniquely identified by their combined TEA Number and District Number. See SLN.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS):
Statewide curriculum designed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), which became effective in all content areas on September 1, 1998. Districts are required to provide instruction in the essential knowledge and skills at the appropriate grade levels in the foundation curriculum. Districts are to use the essential knowledge and skills in the enrichment curriculum as guidelines for instruction. The current state assessments are aligned with the TEKS.

Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS):
Assessment designed to evaluate the progress that Emergent Bilingual (EB) students make in learning the English language.

Texas Learning Index (TLI):
A score that describes how far a student's performance is above or below the passing standard of 70. The TLI is provided for both the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) reading and mathematics tests for grades 3 through 8 and at the exit level. The TLI makes it possible to compare student performance across years within a given subject area. For example, if a student has a TLI of 80 in grade 3 and a TLI of 80 in grade 4 in the following year, then that student is performing at the same level in both grades.

Title I:
The nation's largest federal educational program. Created in 1965 during the War on Poverty, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act serves remedial education programs to poor and disadvantaged children in nearly every school district in the country. Amendments to the law in 1994 tied the program to schoolwide and districtwide reforms based on challenging academic standards. Title I was formerly known as "Chapter 1."

Title IX:
A federal program designed to prohibit gender discrimination in education facilities that receive federal funds. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 cases, which have typically been filed at the college level, have increasingly been filed against K-12 schools for gender equity in extracurricular sports.

Title VII:
A federal program to make Emergent Bilingual (EB) students proficient in the English language. The full title of this program, created in 1984, is Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Funding goes to alternative approaches to bilingual education, such as English immersion programs, as well as traditional instruction in a student's native language.

See Texas Learning Index (TLI).

Total Quality Management (TQM):
A management concept adopted from the business world with a strong focus on client satisfaction and decision-making techniques that encourage workers to seek continual improvement in the organization.

See Total Quality Management (TQM).

A score with a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10. Usually expressed in whole numbers, with most of the scores in the 20 to 80 range.




See Woodcock-Munoz Language Survey (WMLS).

Woodcock-Munoz Language Survey (WMLS):
State-approved test used in Dallas ISD to identify students as Emergent Bilingual (EB). It is primarily a measure of cognitive academic language proficiency.

Written Composition:
Locally-created tests that evaluate grade K-12 students' development of critical writing skills. These tests are administered and scored at the school with no central scanning or data collection.