Over the last two days, four Texas Senators, Senator Shapiro, Senator West, Senator Seliger, and Senator Patrick, have co-written a letter to Commissioner Robert Scott concerning the implementation of the new 15% rule. This rule states that end of course tests must count 15% of a student’s final grade in a course. According to TEA, this rule had to go into effect this year even though this is the transition year between the TAKS test and the new STAAR tests. By design, school districts were not going to be rated this year based on performance on the new test. This is basically the same thing that happened when we went from TAAS testing to TAKS testing a few years ago. Concerns have been expressed over holding students to the new standard when school districts were given a one year grace period.
Commissioner Scott has stated that he lacked the authority to waive the rule based on interpretations from TEA attorneys. However, the senators have expressed the opinion that Commissioner Scott does have the authority to waive the 15% requirement for this year and, in fact, that was the intent from the beginning.
As of this writing, districts have not received any communication from TEA regarding the letter from the senators. I will pass along information as it becomes available.