The impact of student mobility on school accountability in Texas.
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Pulliam, Alfred Lynn.
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In recent years, school accountability increasingly has become an important issue to the public. As this trend continues to escalate, there is a need to examine the effects of student mobility on school performance and accountability ratings. Many schools in Texas are affected by student mobility. When large numbers of mobile students are involved, tremendous pressure is placed on the receiving institutions to assess, instruct, and sometimes intervene academically. As it now stands, school accountability ratings include the performance of students who are enrolled prior to the October data submission of the current year. In the State of Texas, public schools are assigned accountability ratings based largely on the performance of their students on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). The TAKS assesses students’ proficiency of the state standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. Students are assessed annually in grades three through eleven. This study examined the impact high student mobility has on third grade performance scores and the accountability ratings of regular instructional, non-charter campuses. Using data obtained from the Texas Education Agency, 3,447 campuses were analyzed. A significant negative relationship was found between mobility rate and school accountability ratings. Mobility was also found to be a significant factor in explaining the variance of the All Tests performance of those campuses. When comparing the score means of twenty identified high-mobility campuses to the scores from the same campuses, but excluding mobile students, significant differences were found. For both the Math and All Tests values, the group for whom mobile students had been excluded had significantly higher score means. This study suggests that school accountability ratings and school performance scores are negatively related to high student mobility rates. Consequently, it also suggests that state accountability standards and ratings should be adjusted to fairly assess the performance of schools with large numbers of mobile students.