May 1, 2015
TAMSA has followed, supported, and testified on dozens of bills this legislative session. As a practical matter, bills that have not been heard in committee by now have little chance of moving forward. The following bills are the key active bills related to testing effective May 1, 2015.
SB 149 Seliger (R) This bill would establish an individual graduation committee (IGC) for each high school student who has met all high school graduation requirements but has failed to perform satisfactorily on EOCs in no more than two courses. When the individual graduation committee is convened, it will evaluate the student’s performance in the class, as well as a number of other factors, and can require additional work. However, the student may qualify to graduate with a high school diploma if the judgment of the IGC is unanimous. This bill has passed both the House and the Senate, and Governor Abbott has until May 9, 2015 to sign or veto. Also, if the Governor does not act, the bill goes into effect.
SB 451 Seliger (R) /HB 774 Gonzalez (D) These companion bills would eliminate writing and social studies assessments in grades 3-8. Neither bill has received a hearing in the education committees.
SB 1200 Taylor (R)/HB 4028 Huberty (R) - Creation of Next Generation Assessment and Accountability Commission. This commission would be composed of 7 members appointed by the Governor, 4 members appointed by the Lt. Gov, and 4 appointed by the Speaker. The charge is to develop and make recommendations for new systems of student assessment and school accountability. A report to the Legislature would be due Dec 1, 2016. The senate bill was voted out of the Senate on April 30, 2015 and referred to the House.
SB 1302 Menendez (D) This bill would have TEA develop student assessments for grades 3-8 only in subjects required by federal law. This bill was heard in the Senate Education Committee on April 28, 2015, but has not yet been referred to the floor for a vote.
HB 742 Huberty (R) This bill would eliminate the writing and social studies assessment in 3-8 and eliminate the US History EOC. This bill has been amended only to eliminate 8th grade Social Studies test. It was voted out of House Public Education Committee but not yet set for vote on the floor.
HB 743 Huberty (R) This bill covers two issues: testing and the TEKS. The testing portion would call for the STAAR tests in grades 3-8 to be redesigned so that 85% of students in grades 3-5 are be able to complete the test in 2 hours and 85% of students in grades 6-8 can complete the test in 3 hours. The other portion of this bill calls for TEA to review the TEKS and, have the SBOE review the results and provide recommendations to the legislature, based on the review. An Advisory Committee would be formed to oversee the SBOE’s report, and this committee would have the authority to conduct additional study if needed. The SBOE is to limit the TEKS to readiness standards for assessment. Supporting standards would be eliminated from the tests. The bill calls for an independent entity to review the revised tests on readiness standards. This bill was voted out of the House May 1, 2015.
HB 1162 VanDeaver (R) This bill would eliminate the requirement that students reach a satisfactory level of achievement on EOC assessments to graduate from high school. The bill specifies that the results of an EOC assessment may not be used as criteria for grade promotion or graduation but rather may be used only for purposes of diagnosing academic strengths and deficiencies of a student and guiding future specific instruction. The bill also provides for students to be exempt from certain EOC assessments for performance in alternative assessments. This bill has not been heard in the Public Education Committee.
HB 1164 VanDeaver (R) This bill would replace the writing assessment for grades 3-12 with an English language arts assessment. The bill specifies that writing would still be assessed, but any writing sample submitted by a student as part of an assessment could not be used for accountability, grade promotion, or graduation requirement. The bill allows school districts to choose the method by which to assess students writing skills in grades four and seven and at the end of English I and English II secondary-level courses, including portfolio assessment. This bill was voted out of the House on April 30, 2015, and has been sent to the Senate.
HB 2804 Aycock (R) This bill revises the accountability system. It institutes A-F ratings for schools. It also requires that testing count no more than 55% of school accountability. This bill was voted out of the House Education Committee and may be heard on the House floor soon.