Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Senator Royce West adds statewide school district language to testing Bill

Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Governmental Relations

"Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) took the opportunity to add his Achievement School District bill, SB 1718, to Rep. Bennett Ratliff's state assessment reduction bill, HB 2836, after SB 1718 died on a point of order Tuesday night in the House.

HB 2836, which was eventually passed by the Senate, would require state assessments in grades 3-8 to be empirically determined to be valid and reliable by an independent entity. Assessments would be designed so that 85% of students in grades 3-8 could complete the assessment within 180 minutes. The maximum time for the test would be 8 hours and it would be administered in one calendar day. Districts would be limited to two benchmarks per assessment instrument. This limitation would not apply to college preparation assessments, classroom examinations, and benchmarks requested by the parent of a student with special needs. TEA would be required to redesign test security policies to ensure the least amount of disruption of instructional activities at a campus. Finally, the bill calls for an interim committee to study the number and scope of assessments in grades 3-8 and will create a committee to study the TEKS.

Aside from Sen. West's amendment to include ASD language, the Senate amended HB 2836 to exclude students in residential facilities from school accountability measures.
The House will now decide whether to agree with Senate amendments or call for a conference committee to reconcile the different versions of the bill."