If so, there’s a lot of people who won’t be sorry to see it go.
“We have counted on testing and testing only. And it’s caused a lot of angst in the schools,” Senate Public Education Chair Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, said Wednesday about the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.
“We’ll still test, but we’re using other variables to give us the results that we need.”
Shapiro and House Public Education Chair Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, plan to file the school accountability legislation on Thursday. The changes — which would start in the 2011-12 school year — aim to gradually elevate Texas into the top 10 states when it comes to preparing students for college or equipping them with workforce skills.
Texas ranked 46th in the country last year in the Scholastic Assessment Test scores and last among all states in the percentage of adult population with a high school diploma.
The legislative proposal contemplates a “Texas diploma” for college-bound students and a “standard diploma” for those seeking skilled workforce training and a related career. The standard diploma would require three years of English and one year of algebra.
“This diploma will be in a field that says you are certified and are skilled workforce ready,” Shapiro said.
Students would be measured by individual improvement instead of a single test score. Existing “exemplary” “recognized” and “acceptable” ratings for schools and school districts will be eliminated and replaced by an “accreditation tier” focused on individual student achievement based on readiness for college or career.
High school, middle school and elementary school campuses also can earn distinctions for excellence in a variety of areas, such as growth in student achievement, workforce readiness, second language learning, fine arts and physical fitness.
Student testing “will cover more than minimum skills,” Eissler said. Tests will be given in each grade level in an effort to get “an instant growth indicator,” Eissler said, measuring a student’s academic improvement from one year to the next.
We’ll have to see what the details are, but I like the general concept. The purpose of school is to prepare you for what comes next, and I think it makes more sense to evaluate them on that kind of metric than on a standardized test one, which is easy to game and doesn’t really measure anything useful. This is going to be a lot trickier to do, and I’ve no doubt there will be problems and disagreements with the implementation. But the direction strikes me as the right one, and so I hope this makes it through. EoW has more.