Legislative Update

Below is an update from the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). This update contains information about bills that are to be heard by the House Committee on Public Education. All of these bills have to do with either graduation requirements, assessments or both. Note the similarities and differences. The HB 659 (Strama) still has the end of course test counting 15% of the second semesters final grade (as opposed to 15% of the overall grade). The other bills either eliminate completely or provide local districts the option of using the 15% or not. Note also that there is a great deal of emphasis on career and technology courses in several of the bills. I believe that the bills filed by Aycock and Patrick, et al will receive a great deal of consideration.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

House Pub Ed Lines Up Assessment Bills

The House Public Education Committee will meet at 2 p.m. or upon final adjournment of the House on Tuesday, February 19, to consider the following bills:

HB 5 (Aycock, et al.) would create one foundational degree on which students may
earn endorsements in certain fields, including STEM, business and industry,
public services, and arts and humanities. HB 5 would also:

  • allow districts to partner with community colleges and industry to develop
    rigorous courses that address workforce needs, provide technical training
    and count towards graduation;
  • eliminate the requirement that all students must pass Algebra II and ELA III to
    receive a high school diploma;
  • eliminate the 15 percent rule;
  • grant current ninth and tenth grade students the benefits of the new structure;
  • allow all high school graduates to be eligible for automatic admission to Texas
    public four-year universities because all student graduate under the same

In terms of assessments and accountability, HB 5 reduces the number of end-of-course assessments required for graduation from 15 to five: Algebra I, biology, U.S. history and English II (reading and writing). The bill also would eliminate the cumulative score
requirement for end-of-course exams and would allow satisfactory performance on
Advanced Placement, SAT and ACT exams to satisfy graduation requirements. HB 5
would do away with the current accountability ratings and institute an A-F
system that takes into account academic performance, financial performance, and
community and student engagement.

HB 224 (Huberty, et al.) would repeal the requirement that a student’s performance on
an end-of-course assessment accounts for 15 percent of the student’s final
grade in that course.

HB 251 (Guillen) would prohibit the commissioner from lowering a district or
campus performance rating due to a limited English proficient student’s
unsatisfactory performance on an assessment for three years after the student
initially enrolls in a school in the U.S.

HB 399 (Krause) would allow school districts to designate the advanced
career and technical courses that may count toward certain math and science
curriculum requirements.

HB 554 (Strama) would require the release of questions and answers from
state assessments every year, as opposed to every third year as stipulated by
current law.

HB 640 (Patrick, et al.) would remove the requirement that a student’s performance
on an end-of-course (EOC) assessment account for 15 percent of the final course
grade. Districts would have discretion as to whether to consider performance on
an EOC when determining whether the student satisfied graduation requirements.
Students in any graduation program would be required to take EOC assessments in
Algebra I and English III only, and could partially or completely satisfy the
EOC requirement by successfully completing one or more dual credit courses
through an institution of higher education. A student’s performance on an EOC
could not be used for class ranking or as a sole college admission criterion. A
general academic teaching institution could take EOC performance into
consideration in addition to other criteria, however. The commissioner would
adopt rules allowing a student to satisfy EOC requirements by satisfactory
performance on an AP test, IB exam, SAT, ACT, or other assessment instrument
determined to be as rigorous as an EOC exam. If the commissioner fails to adopt
rules to this end, the student would be deemed to have satisfactorily completed
the EOC requirement by earning a determined score on the aforementioned tests.
The commissioner could require a student to achieve a particular score on the
required EOCs in order to graduate under the advanced or recommended programs.
A student who failed to perform satisfactorily on the Algebra I or English III
EOC would be required to retake the exam. If the student is deemed unlikely to
satisfy the performance requirements, the student would enroll in a college preparatory

HB 640 would amend the performance indicators set forth in the Education Code by adding career and technology licenses and certifications, associate degrees, and dual credits earned, as well as students who satisfy college readiness benchmarks as indicated by IB, AP, SAT, and ACT performance. District and campus performance would no longer be based on PEIMS data and assessment results. The commissioner could suspend assignment of accreditation statuses and performance ratings for the 2012-13 school year.

HB 596 (Villarreal) would allow school districts discretion as to whether to
include performance on an EOC exam up to 15 percent of a student’s final grade.
This bill would repeal the language regarding achieving a satisfactory cumulative
score on EOCs in the foundation curriculum in order to receive a high school
diploma. It would also amend the EOCs required for the different graduation
programs. Specifically, students on the recommended high school program would
be required to take the following EOCs: English III; Algebra II; biology,
chemistry, or physics; and world geography, world history, or US history.
Students taking the advanced high school program would be required to take the
same EOC assessments as those on the recommended program, however, the
commissioner would determine how performance on an AP test, IB exam, SAT or
other instrument could satisfy the EOC requirements for English III and Algebra
II. The EOC requirements for the minimum high school program would be the same
as the recommended program although Algebra I would replace Algebra II. ARD
committees would determine whether a student in a special education program
would be required to pass an EOC in order to receive a diploma. A student who
fails to achieve the score requirement on an EOC could, but is not required to,
retake it. Recognized and exemplary district and campus ratings would no longer
take into account performance on assessment instruments, including those in
grades 3-8 and EOC exams. Ratings could consider postsecondary readiness as
long as they did take into account student performance on assessment
instruments. A district could not spend more than 10% of instructional days in
a school year on administering state assessments or local assessments to prepare
students for the statewide tests.

HB 659 (Strama) would amend the current assessment provisions, mainly
regarding EOC assessments. A student’s performance on an EOC would account for
15 percent of his second semester grade instead of 15 percent of the final
grade for the course. With the exception of the English I, II, and III EOC’s,
which would be writing assessments, all EOCs would be administered in the final
week of the school year. The commissioner would adopt a standardized procedure
for using performance on an EOC for determining the course grade in order to
achieve statewide uniformity. Questions and answers from assessment instruments
would be released yearly and results would be released not later than the 21st
day after administration of the test. Districts, DAEPs, and JJAEPs would be
required to allow an eligible student to retake an EOC by computer. This bill
would repeal the language regarding achieving a satisfactory cumulative score
on EOCs in the foundation curriculum in order to receive a high school diploma.
Instead, a student would be required to achieve a certain score set by the
commissioner only on the English II and Algebra I exams in order to graduate
under the minimum, recommended or advanced high school programs. A student who fails to achieve that score could retake the Algebra I or English II EOC each time
the assessment is administered. If it appears that a student, on completion of
11th grade, is unlikely to pass the Algebra I or English II EOC, the student
would be enrolled in a content area college preparatory course.


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