by Coy Holcombe.
Some students have been participating in end of course tests this week. EISD, along with numerous other districts, was chosen to participate in certain end of course tests. This mandatory participation serves a couple of purposes: first, it allows field testing of questions. Field testing allows the test writers to determine if there are problems with particular questions. For example, if there is a very high rate of incorrect answers on a particular question, the test writers can look at that question and determine if there was a problem with the wording of the question.
Second, some of the field tests have been on-line tests. These tests are taken via computer. The state is experimenting with this form of testing as a both a cost saving alternative and a way for results, in some cases, to be available much faster than with traditional pencil and paper tests. However, as with anything that involves technology, there are going to be issues. In our experience this week, we found that some of the technology issues were at EISD and others were at the testing center.
When this year’s seventh graders get to high school, they will be the first class to start end of course testing instead of TAKS testing. They will be required to pass a certain number of end of course tests, with a minimum score, in order to be eligible to graduate. The end of course tests will also count as a percentage of the overall grade that a student receives in a class. It is the goal that all core subject classes will have end of course tests.
As we progress from TAKS to end of course tests, we will certainly be communicating with parents on the new requirements and the new formats associated with these tests.