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TCEP - Final Analysis of HB 5

TCEP - Final Analysis of HB 5

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PolicyAnalysis
FinalAnalysisofHouseBill5(HB5):Relatingtopublicschoolaccountability,includingassessment,andcurriculumrequirements.
PatriciaD.López,Ph.D.andAngelaValenzuela,Ph.D.June3,2013
Introduction
ThefinalpassageofHouseBill5(HB5)significantlymodifiestheTexasEducationCoderegardingstudentassessment,curriculumandgraduationrequirements,andcampusanddistrictaccountability.ThisbriefreflectstheTexasCenterforEducationPolicy’sprolongedengagementwiththestate’stransitiontotheStateofTexasAssessmentsforAcademicReadiness(STAAR)system(seeLópez,2012),andoveradecadeofworkonTexas-styleaccountabilityandassessment,generally(seeValenzuela,2004).Tobegin,TCEPacknowledgesHB5’sreductioninthenumberofteststhatstudentsmustnowcompletetograduate.Whilethatchangeisnoteworthy,itdoesnotfullyaddresstheresearch-basedcriticismsonthedetrimentsofhigh-stakestestinginTexas—suchasstudentandteacherpush-out(McNeiletal.,2008),curriculartracking(Valenzuela,1999),reducedstudentlearning(Sloan,2004),studentretention(Valencia&Villarreal,2004),thedenialofahighschooldiploma(Valenzuela,1999;
GIForumvTEA,2000
),anddiminishingaccesstocollege(Cabrera,López,&Sáenz,2012)—allofwhicharemostsevereforpoor,minority,andemergingbilingualstudents(Valenzuela,2000;
USAandLULACGI-Forumv.Texas,2008
).Thatsaid,wehopeHB5willinitiateaprocessforgreateradvancementsinholistic,multiple-criteriaassessmentsforstudents(seeValenzuela,2002)thatmirrortheconsiderationsaffordedtobothschoolsanddistrictsasoutlinedinthe2009passageofHouseBill3(seeLópez,2009)andaugmentedinHB5(Sec.39.0545).
 
Copyright©2013bytheTexasCenterforEducationPolicy
2Ontheissueofcurriculum,werecognizeongoingattemptstodismantlethe4x4,college-readyexpectationsthatthestateputinplaceduringthe2007legislativesession.Asourresearchshows,thetrackingagendapersists,primarilyamongselectpoliticalactorswhocontinuetoclaim“collegeisnotforeveryone”(López,2012).ThatsentimentisexpressedinHB5bymakingtheTopTenPercenteligible,Distinguisheddiplomaplanoptional,ratherthanthedefault.Withthehelpoflegislators,advocatesweresuccessfulinaddingmultiplesafeguardsandreportingmechanismsthatmakeitharderforschoolsanddistrictstofunnelstudentsoffoftheDistinguisheddiplomaplanandcollegeeligibility,asthisbriefwilloutline.Thisbriefwillfurtherdemonstratehowthe“endorsement”languagecodifiedintoHB5isnothingmorethanafancytitleforflexiblecourseoptionsthatwerealreadyofferedinstatute.Byinformingstudentsandparentsontheirincreasedstatutoryrightstowardsgainingcollegeknowledge,collegepreparedness,andTopTenpercenteligibility,itisourhopethatthisbriefwillbethefirstofmanyresourcesthathelptoinformstudents,parents,andvariouscommunities,alike,onthechangesmadebyHB5.
 
Copyright©2013bytheTexasCenterforEducationPolicy
3
 StudentAssessment
InresponsetooverwhelmingcriticismtoTexas’useofhigh-stakestesting,legislatorshavescaledbackthenumberofhigh-stakes,end-of-course(EOC)examsrequiredforgraduationfromfifteentofive.AsoutlinedinthefinaliterationofHB5,studentswillnowberequiredtopassEOCexamsinthefollowingfivesubjects:EnglishlanguageartsI(ELAI);EnglishlanguageartsII(ELAII);AlgebraI;Biology;andU.S.History(Sec.39.0232).AsmandatedinHB5,theTexasEducationAgency(TEA)shallfindamethodforcombiningreadingandwritingforEnglishlanguageartsintoone,comprehensiveexam(Sec.39.0232).HouseBill5hascompletelyremovedtheminimumandcumulativepassingscorestandards,aswellaslanguagethatrequiredEOCperformancestodefine15percentofastudent’sfinalcoursegrade(i.e.,the“15percentrule").StudentsmustnowpassthefiveEOCexamsrequiredforgraduationattheLevelIISatisfactorypassingstandardsetbyTEA.Advocatesweresuccessfulinaddingsafeguards,suchasprohibitingdistrictsfromusingastudent’sperformanceonanEOCassessmentforthefollowingpurposes:(1)
 
Todetermineclassrank,includingentitlementtoautomaticadmissions;(2)
 
Asasolecriterioninthedeterminationwhethertoadmitastudenttoageneralacademicteachinginstitutioninthestate(Sec.39.0232(b1-b2)).WhileHB5isexplicitinstatingthatstateEOCexamscannotbeusedasasolecriterionforpubliccollegeanduniversityadmissions,thebilldoesnotprohibitageneralacademicteachinginstitutionfromimplementinganadmissionpolicythattakesintoconsiderationastudent’sperformanceonanEOCassessmentinstrumentinadditiontoothercriteria.ForthosestudentswhodonotperformsatisfactorilyonanEOCexam,districtsarerequiredtoprovideAcceleratedInstruction(Sec.28.0217).Acceleratedinstructionmaybeofferedbeforeorafternormalschoolhours,andtimesoutsideofthenormalschoolyear(e.g.,summerschool).AsoutlinedinHB5,schooldistrictsmaychoosetoadministerdiagnostictestsinAlgebraIIandEnglishlanguageartsIII(Sec.39.0238).Thestatedoesnotmandate,nordotheycoverthecosts,toadministerthesetwooptionalassessments.Forthosedistrictsthat

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