The Basics of CCMR in Accountability and Legislation

Posted by Texas OnCourse on Jan 27, 2021 5:01:08 PM

Texas leads the nation in the number of public policies designed to improve college, career, and military readiness (known around here as CCMR). The state’s emphasis on postsecondary readiness is also reflected in its accountability system, which includes a strong focus on CCMR indicators.

The state’s accountability system assigns a rating of A–F for all campuses and districts. These ratings are based on three components, which are referred to as domains. The domains are Student Achievement, School Progress, and Closing the Gaps. Schools and districts also receive a score for each domain.

This A–F Accountability system in Texas is fairly new. It was borne from 2017’s HB 22. Districts received their first A–F reports in August 2019. In 2020, all districts and campuses were labeled Not Rated: Declared State of Disaster for 2020, due to COVID-19. Schools and districts will again not be rated in 2021 due to COVID-19.

Among the changes to the state accountability system, HB 22 made CCMR an important component throughout. Many other efforts in the state legislature over the past decade were designed to support preparedness for college, career, and the military. Notably, 2013’s HB 5 significantly changed the state’s graduation requirements. As a result of HB 5, Texas students must select an endorsement designed to help them explore different career clusters. 

Texas OnCourse itself arose from state legislative action – 2015’s HB 18. This bill was designed to help educators, students, and their families navigate the changed graduation requirements of the previous bill. HB 18 requires middle schools to provide students with instruction to prepare them for high school, college, and career. It also requires the state to create digital resources for educators to improve college and career advising. If any of that sounds familiar, you’ve likely checked out our College and Career Readiness Curriculum or the Texas OnCourse Academy. And if you haven’t, you should! 

Additional legislation in later years continued to support the state’s postsecondary goals. Notably, 2019 saw the passage of a bill making FAFSA completion a graduation requirement, starting in 2021–22. That requirement is coming up quick – be sure to check out our many resources on financial aid including, most critically, our modules in the Academy on FAFSA and TASFA.

Throughout the rest of this article, we’ll cover the basics of Texas’ accountability system. We’ll also recap some recent legislation in support of postsecondary readiness. Peruse the whole article, or click on any topic below to navigate to that section. 

Learn how Texas OnCourse improves CCMR

Accountability basics

The Texas A–F accountability system is based on three domains that contribute to an overall A–F accountability rating: Student Achievement, School Progress, and Closing the Gaps.

The domains

Student Achievement evaluates performance across all subjects for all students on STAAR tests and alternate assessments. For high schools, this domain also includes graduation rates and how many graduates are ready for college, career, or the military.

School Progress measures whether students grew at least one year academically. The domain uses STAAR results to see if students are on track. It also takes into account the performance of all students relative to districts and campuses with similar socioeconomic statuses. Within the School Progress domain, you have the choice to apply the better of two categories in your score: academic growth or relative performance.

Closing the Gaps aligns with federal ESSA requirements. It considers disaggregated performance broken down by race and ethnicity, socioeconomic background, and other factors. 

Each domain receives a score. To get an overall rating label, take the better of Student Achievement OR School Progress domains and weigh that at 70% of the overall grade. The other 30% of the overall grade would come from Closing the Gaps. Based on the overall scale score, a district or campus would score A–F, based on this scale:

A = Scaled score 90–100

B = Scaled score 80–89

C = Scaled score 70–79

D = Scaled score 60–69

F = Scaled score ≤ 59

Calculating Overall Accountability Grade

CCMR plays a role in all domains for high school and district ratings, though it weighs most heavily in Student Achievement. For high schools, CCMR outcomes account for 40% of the Student Achievement score. If you’re interested in reading more about how each domain is calculated, we have another article for you!

Who gets rated

Any districts and campuses with students enrolled in the fall of the academic year are assigned a state accountability rating for that year. School districts and charter schools receive a rating based on the combined results of students in their campuses. Campuses and open-enrollment charter schools, including alternative education campuses, receive a rating based on the performance of their students. 

Rating labels 

Districts and campuses receive an overall rating as well as a rating for each domain. Here’s a breakdown of the ratings for 2020 directly from TEA:

  • A, B, C, or D. Assigned for overall performance and for performance in each domain to districts and campuses, including those evaluated under alternative education accountability (AEA), that meet the performance target for the letter grade.  
  • F. Assigned for overall performance and for performance in each domain to districts and campuses (including AEAs) that do not meet the performance target to earn at least a D. 
  • Not Rated. Indicates that a district or campus does not receive a rating for one or more of the following reasons:  
    • The district or campus has no data in the accountability subset.  
    • The district or campus has insufficient data to assign a rating.  
    • The district operates only residential facilities. 
    • The campus is a juvenile justice alternative education program (JJAEP). 
    • The campus is a disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP). 
    • The campus is a residential facility. 
    • The commissioner otherwise determines that the district or campus will not be rated. 
  • Not Rated: Data Integrity Issues. Indicates data accuracy or integrity have compromised performance results, making it impossible to assign a rating. The assignment of a Not Rated: Data Integrity Issues label may be permanent or temporary, pending investigation.
  • Not Rated: Declared State of Disaster. Indicates that due to extraordinary public health and safety circumstances, the closure of schools during the state’s testing window inhibited the ability of the state to accurately measure district and campus performance. This is the rating that all schools and districts received in 2020. 

 Source: 2020 Accountability Manual, TEA

Districts and campuses that receive an A, B, C, or D can also earn distinction designations. Distinction designations are awarded to schools and districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in different subject areas and/or growth in postsecondary readiness.

What changed in 2019?

Texas shifted to its new accountability system starting with the 2018–19 school year. As a reminder, the current A–F system was established during the 2017 Texas legislative session by House Bill 22. This change moved the state’s accountability system from a pass/fail system to one based on A–F grades awarded at the campus and district level. A–F accountability ratings were first released publicly in August 2019. 

In addition to the major grading system change, three new CCMR indicators were introduced:

  1. Students earning OnRamps college credit. 
  2. Students receiving special education services who complete a graduation plan.
  3. Students earning a Level I or II certificate.  

TEA also began using the best subject area score on SAT and ACT assessments, which started with the class of 2018. College Board and ACT provide the score results for all four years for students directly to TEA. Districts and campuses are not responsible for providing the data directly. 

There were also updates to the CTE Indicator, including an expanded list of industry-based certifications to be used in CCMR calculations. Additionally, the courses aligned with industry-based certifications include 19 additional courses. A graduate who completes a coherent CTE sequence may earn a half credit (0.5) toward CCMR.

Communicating about accountability

Administrators are required to communicate accountability scores to the public. Per Texas Education Code (TEC §11.253(g)), each campus must hold at least one public meeting annually after they receive campus accountability ratings. This meeting must include discussion of the performance of the campus and the campus performance objectives. 

Texas Education Code also requires the following:

  • TEC §39.361 requires districts to state whether one or more of its campuses have been awarded a distinction designation or is currently rated F and to provide an explanation of the significance of the information.
  • TEC §39.362 requires districts to post on the district website the current accreditation status and accountability ratings, Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPR), and School Report Cards (SRC) as well as an explanation of the information by the 10th day of each school year.
  • TEC §39.363 requires TEA to post the following by October 1 of each year:
    • The performance rating assigned to each district and campus.
    • Each distinction designation awarded.
    • The financial accountability rating assigned to each district.


Campus and district accountability reports

While there have been several versions of accountability ratings through TEA in the last fifteen years, 2019 was the first year that individual campuses and districts received an A–F score. The first A–F ratings were released in August 2019. In 2020, all districts and campuses were labeled Not Rated: Declared State of Disaster for 2020 due to COVID-19. 

As of November 2020, campuses and districts will receive A–F ratings for the 2020–21 school year.

To view 2019 accountability rating reports for Texas districts and campuses, visit

CCMR and accountability

Our accountability system maintains a strong focus on CCMR indicators in each of the domains. CCMR has the potential to affect each domain in a different way – here’s how: 

  • In the Student Achievement domain, CCMR is one of three indicators together with STAAR tests and graduation rates. CCMR accounts for 40% of the Student Achievement domain. 
  • In the School Progress domain, Academic Growth measures academic improvement from one year to the next, while Relative Performance evaluates the average of STAAR and CCMR performance compared to campuses and districts with similar percentages of economically disadvantaged students. 
  • In the Closing the Gaps domain, School Quality measures graduates' preparedness for college, a career, or the military. This is one of four components that measures individual student groups and their ability to meet specific performance targets. Other components of this domain are Academic Achievement, Graduation Rate, and English Language Proficiency. 

Campuses and districts demonstrate CCMR performance via indicators that measure graduates’ preparedness for college, the workforce, or the military. Students can achieve readiness in any one of the following ways:

College ready:

  • Meet criteria of 3 on AP examinations or 4 on IB examinations.
  • Meet TSI criteria (SAT/ACT/TSIA/college prep course) in reading and mathematics.
  • Complete a course for dual credit (nine hours or more in any subject or three hours or more in ELAR/mathematics).
  • Earn an associate degree.
  • Complete and OnRamps course in any subject and earn college credit.

Career ready:

  • Earn an industry-based certification.
  • Complete CTE coherent sequence coursework and receive credit aligned with approved industry-based certifications (half point awarded ONLY if the graduate meets no other CCMR indicator).
  • Graduate with completed IEP and workforce readiness.
  • Earn a Level I or Level II certificate.
  • Graduate under an advanced degree plan and be identified as a current special education student.

Military ready:

  • Enlist in the United States Armed Forces. Important note: due to data discrepancies, TEA will exclude military enlistment data from CCMR accountability calculations until such data can be obtained directly from the US Armed Forces.

Each graduate who accomplishes any one of the CCMR indicators receives one point, with one exception. CTE coherent sequence graduates earn one half-point credit for coursework completion and credit aligned with industry-based certifications. 

Within the Student Achievement domain, the CCMR component is calculated by dividing the total points (cumulative number of CCMR graduates) by the number of annual graduates. The CCMR component score is rounded to the nearest whole number. 

The School Progress and Closing the Gaps domains use these same indicators. However, the way these indicators are calculated within each domain differs. We have a separate article to explain how CCMR is calculated in each domain.


Tracking CCMR indicators

For some CCMR indicators, campuses are required to submit data via the state’s Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS). For other indicators, TEA collects data directly from other sources. Here’s a breakdown of the source of CCMR indicators:

Submitted by districts

Indicator Data Source
Earn an industry-based certification PEIMS submission
Earn an associate degree PEIMS submission
Graduate with a completed IEP and workforce readiness PEIMS submission
Graduate with an advanced degree plan and be identified as a current special education student PEIMS submission
CTE coherent sequence coursework aligned with industry-based certifications PEIMS submission
Complete a college prep course PEIMS submission
Dual credit course completion PEIMS submission

Sourced by TEA

Meet Texas Success Initiative (TSI) criteria in ELA/Reading and Mathematics

TSI scores: THECB
SAT scores: College Board
ACT scores: ACT
College prep ELA/Math: TSDS PEIMS

Meet Criteria on Advanced Placement (AP)/International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations

AP: College Board 
IB exam scores: International Baccalaureate

Complete an OnRamps dual enrollment course OnRamps
Earn a Level I or Level II certificate THECB


Enlist in the US Armed Forces

This data will not be included in CCMR calculations until TEA can receive it directly from the US Department of Defense. Schools are still required to submit military enlistment data through PEIMS, however.

Previously, many districts kept track of this data manually or by combining data from student management systems with data from vendors such as the College Board and ACT. In August 2020, TEA created the CCMR Tracker. This free tool aggregates CCMR-related data for you in one place for students in grades 9–12. The tracker is available through the TEA Login (TEAL). It is important to note the 2020 CCMR Tracker includes CCMR outcomes reported through summer 2019. 

CCMR outcomes bonuses

In 2019, the state legislature passed House Bill 3, the school finance bill. Among other items, the bill allocates funding to improve college, career, and military readiness for all students. This funding is known as the CCMR Outcomes Bonus.

The CCMR Outcomes Bonus allows districts to earn funds for preparing students for college, careers, or the military. The goal is to improve CCMR for all students and ensure equity among economically disadvantaged students, non-economically disadvantaged students, and students in special education programs. Bonuses are paid annually to districts whose graduates exceed certain thresholds in these three groups. Schools may then use those funds on efforts to further improve college and career advising efforts.

Awards are based on performance indicators that vary depending on the distinction area. Examples include SAT and ACT participation rates, attendance rates, STAAR performance, and graduation rates. 

Looking for more information on outcomes bonuses? Check out this detailed article about bonuses, including award amounts and thresholds for qualifying. 


Notable legislation

Texas leads the nation in the number of policy efforts designed to improve college and career readiness. The state legislature has passed a number of bills in the past decade to support CCMR. These include 2017’s HB 22, which established the new accountability system. We summarize some key bills below.

HB 5 (2015): This bill changed graduation requirements for the state. Due to HB 5, most students are required to select an endorsement before entering ninth grade. Something of a mini-major for high school, an endorsement is a sequence of courses aligned to a career cluster. Moreover, students also have to select and outline a graduation plan before entering ninth grade. Students need to choose between the Foundation High School Program and the Distinguished Level of Achievement. 

HB 18 (2017): Recognizing the need to support educators, students, and students’ families on the changes created by HB 5, the state legislature passed HB 18 in 2017. This bill called for an academy to provide professional learning for improved college and career advising, and it requires that all students in seventh or eighth grade receive instruction to prepare them for high school, college, and career. HB 18 is why Texas OnCourse exists – we check both of those buckets!

HB 22 (2017): This bill overhauled the state’s accountability system. It established the three domains explained above, and it requires that districts be assigned a rating of A, B, C, D, or F for overall performance as well as for performance in each domain. (Note that the story behind the current accountability system is a bit more complicated than this paragraph can detail. Here’s a good article from the Texas Tribune if you’re interested in more background.)

HB 3 (2019): Among many other things, this sweeping school finance bill made FAFSA completion a graduation requirement. Beginning with students enrolled in 12th grade during the 2021–2022 school year, each student must do one of the following in order to graduate:

  • Complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Complete and submit a Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA).
  • Submit a signed opt-out form.

As we mentioned above, this was also the bill that established CCMR outcomes bonuses.

HB 1026 (2019): As a result of this bill, Texas’ K–12 education standards (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS) must integrate positive character traits. Each district and charter school must adopt a character education program that includes these traits. We’ve got you covered: as a result of this bill, our College and Career Readiness Curriculum ensures that your district integrates positive character traits into K–12 TEKS.

And that’s how CCMR fits into Texas education accountability and state legislation in a nutshell! Texas OnCourse helps districts meet these legislative mandates and improve CCMR knowledge and performance. Be sure to check out more information on Texas OnCourse programming. 

Learn how Texas OnCourse improves CCMR

Topics: Accountability