Monday, May 6, 2013

Texas House Bill 5 stalled as some seek to add EOC exams

From Texas Association of School Board Governmental Relations (TASB)
Urge your senator and the lieutenant governor to support assessment and graduation requirement reform with 5 EOC exams!
"Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock’s major testing and graduation reform bill, House Bill 5, is meeting resistance in the Senate as the number of end-of-course (EOC) exams is becoming a sticking point. There is a possibility that an amendment will propose to increase the number of EOC exams required for students to graduate from five to seven.
The Senate goes into session at 11 a.m., so call or e-mail your state senator and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst now to voice your support for HB 5 with no additional high-stakes, EOC exams or significant changes to the graduation plans.
Major highlights of the bill:
  • Reduces high-stakes end-of-course exams from 15 to 5: Algebra I, biology, U.S. history, English I and English II – note that reading and writing components of the English exams will be combined into one exam.
  • Creates one foundation degree with multiple endorsement options for students to take courses in areas of personal interest: Business and Industry; Arts and Humanities; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math; and Distinguished Achievement.
  • Raises the bar in terms of academic rigor by eliminating the minimum graduation plan currently taken by 20 percent of Texas students and creating a foundation degree that requires more rigorous courses and more credit hours. Further, the endorsements allow students to take more rigorous courses in fields of interest than the current 4x4 plan that allows no flexibility.
  • Provides options to prevent any student from being trapped in a graduation plan or endorsement by providing information to parents and students prior to selection of an endorsement, requiring parental involvement if a student wishes to opt out of an endorsement track into the foundation plan, and allowing students to switch to another endorsement plan at any time in their high school careers.
  • Allows all children, regardless of graduation plan, to be eligible to apply for college. Current law requires Texas public colleges to only consider in-state applications from Texas students taking the recommended and distinguished plans. This eliminates the statutory double standard between Texas public school students and out-of-state, private and home-school students, allowing colleges to determine which students they want to admit – not the state."