Last week, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed HB 5 into law. HB 5 provides some dramatic changes in the state’s testing program, graduation programs, and accountability system. Below is a summary from the Equity Center on the changes:
Yesterday, Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock’s House Bill 5, a comprehensive education reform bill, was signed into law. There will be a transition plan for House Bill 5 to go into effect beginning with the 2014-15 school year, but students who enter the ninth grade before the 2014-15 school year will be permitted to choose between one of the current plans or the new foundation plan as outlined in the bill and 2013-14 seniors will be allowed to graduate if they have
met the requirements of the foundation plan.
As approved, House Bill 5 will make the following changes:
- Create a foundation plan of 22 credits which includes: 4 ELA, 3 Math, 3 Science, 3 Social Studies, 2 Foreign Language, 1 Fine Art, 1 PE and 5 electives.
- Allow students to earn an additional endorsement in one of five areas: STEM, Business and Industry, Public Services, Arts and Humanities and Multidisciplinary Studies. Each endorsement requires students to earn a total of 26 credits which includes an additional flexible math credit, flexible science credit and two additional electives.
- Require all students to have a personal graduation plan developed with their parents and local educators that promotes college and workforce readiness.
- Allow districts to partner with community colleges and industry to develop rigorous courses that address workforce needs, provide technical training and count towards graduation.
- Reduce the number of required end-of-course assessments from fifteen to five.
- Allow students to meet their graduation assessment requirement by passing ELA I, ELA II, Algebra I, biology and US History. English Language Arts tests are combined into one assessment instead of separate reading and writing tests.
- Eliminate the requirement that the end-of-course assessments determine fifteen percent of a student’s course grade and establishes clear graduation requirements for students and parents by eliminating the cumulative score requirement.
- Provide for transparency by requiring the STAAR exams to be released to the public.
- Allow satisfactory performance on Advanced Placement exams, SAT exams and the ACT to satisfy graduation requirements.
- Allow districts at their discretion to administer English III and Algebra II assessments for diagnostic purposes only.
- Evaluate schools on more measures than state standardized assessment by requiring at least three additional indicators of academic performance including but not limited to percentage of students graduating with endorsements or distinguished level of performance, number of students earning college credit and number of students earning workforce certificates.
- Establish a three category rating system that evaluates schools on academic performance, financial performance and community and student engagement.
- Direct the agency and districts to release all three ratings at the same time to provide a clearer understanding of overall school performance.
- Allow local communities to engage in the accountability process by requiring districts to set goals and evaluate performance locally in addition to state ratings.