All Catholic schools in the State of Texas recognized as Catholic must be accredited by the Texas Catholic Conference Accreditation Commission (TCCAC). The accreditation cycle is every seven years or every five years for those schools who have dual accreditation with another accredited body. Each school is accredited on its own merits, and thus, there is no blanket accreditation for the whole diocese.
The accreditation process involves a formal visit that is preceded by a comprehensive Self-Study. The visiting team is made up of a chairperson from outside the diocese and trained team members from within the local diocese. Annual reports are submitted to maintain standing. Corrective action must take place if a school falls below the standards required in order to maintain their status. A school losing its accreditation then impacts their recognition by the local bishop and standing with IRS under its rules. All Catholic schools in the Diocese of El Paso are fully accredited by the TCCAC.
All accredited elementary and secondary non-public schools in Texas can be found in the Texas School Directory.
For the past 15 years, the Diocese of El Paso Catholic schools have used the TEKS from the State of Texas as the basis of our curriculum. We have also added the basic teachings of the Church and other objectives we feel are necessary. In order to offer a more rigorous curriculum, the schools will begin adopting the Common Core Standards integrated with the teachings of the Catholic Church in the 2012-2013 school year. Click here for more information.
Unlike public schools in the State of Texas, our students do not take the STAAR tests. Instead, the Catholic schools in the Diocese of El Paso, along with Catholic schools in other dioceses throughout Texas, administer the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). The resources provided by this standard annual assessment allow our schools to track grade progress. More importantly, we are able to track an individual student's growth as he/she moves through the grades. It is important that all students grow annually in reaching their potential. All of our students need to be challenged to do their best. Administering this annual assessment helps us to improve instruction in the classroom and assess how it aligns to the curriculum.
Additionally, since results are web-based, it is possible for the teacher and administrator to disaggregate test scores within a group and within the school. This can be done from home, classroom or office areas with access to a computer and internet capabilities.
The ITBS is administered once a year in September.
The Assessment of Catechesis/Religious Education (ACRE) is a test designed by the National Catholic Educational Association and administered to students in 5th Grade (Level 1), 8th or 9th grade (Level 2), and 11th or 12th grade (Level 3) to evaluate the faith knowledge and attitudes of students in Catholic schools. It is administered once a year in January. For the 2011-12 school year, the test will be administered on January 19, 2012.