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Posts Tagged ‘STAAR’

Lawsuit filed over teacher evaluation system

A new front is opened in the war on standardized testing. Seven HISD teachers and their union are suing the school district to try to end job evaluations tied to students’ test scores, arguing the method is arbitrary, unfair and in violation of their due-process rights. The lawsuit, filed in federal court late Wednesday, could […]

Two truths about testing

Lisa Falkenberg boils it down. While there’s no doubt standardized tests are an important part of student assessment, somewhere along the way, they became too important. We’ve tethered them to everything from student promotion to teacher pay to school reputation. And it’s not just the test days that take away from meaningful learning but the […]

No testing waiver

Sorry, kids. The federal government has denied the state’s request to waive No Child Left Behind testing requirements for students in elementary and middle school, the Texas Education Agency announced Monday. If the waiver had been granted, students who excel on state reading and math exams in the third and fifth grades would have been […]

The new accountability standards

Here’s the TEA press release about the school accountability ratings for 2013, which came out on Thursday. The Texas Education Agency today released the 2013 state accountability system ratings for more than 1,200 school districts and charters, and more than 8,500 campuses. The ratings reveal that almost 93 percent of school districts and charters across […]

Don’t count on that federal testing waiver

It could happen, but don’t expect your high-scoring kid to spend less time taking tests going forward. A plan to reduce testing for higher-performing elementary and middle school students was one of the feel-good bills of the 2013 legislative session. But several experts believe it will never see the light of day in Texas schools. […]

Testing waiver sought

It’s a follow up for a bill passed during the regular legislative session. In a letter sent [last] week to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Education Commissioner Michael Williams is seeking clarification on whether the federal agency has the authority to grant a waiver on the No Child Left Behind Act, formally called the Elementary and […]

Perry signs HB5, adds transportation to the special session

There had been some buzz about a possible veto, but in the end this was to be expected. When Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 5 on Monday, he ended weeks of speculation that he might veto the high-profile education legislation because of concerns that it would weaken high school graduation standards. The bill, by […]

Pushing for the Governor to sign HB5

While a lot of big ticket items were addressed by the Legislature during the regular session, not all of those bills have been signed into law yet. Among them are the big education reform bills, and proponents of fewer standardized tests are urging Rick Perry to sign them. Six organizations representing a statewide coalition of […]

So where does the school finance lawsuit stand?

Though Judge John Dietz issued a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in the school finance lawsuit back in February, he still hasn’t written his full decision yet. That’s because he wanted to see what the Legislature did this session, so he could take it into account in his opinion. Well, the session is over […]

Testing and charter bills pass

A lot of stuff gets done at the last possible minute in the Legislature. The two big education bills were examples of this. The session’s two biggest school reform bills, one from each chamber, have danced the House and Senate in the session’s closing days—a stalemate that broke Sunday night as both bills passed each […]

Fewer tests in the future

If you’re tired of standardized tests, this will be good news for you. Under House Bill 866 by state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Humble, which passed the Senate on Tuesday night, students who do well on state exams in third and fifth grades could skip exams in fourth, sixth and seventh grades. All students would be […]

Senate passes amended HB5

The Senate has passed its version of House Bill 5, which makes sweeping changes to standardized testing and curriculum requirements for high school students. Texas high school students would have new curriculum requirements under legislation unanimously passed by the Senate on Monday — but they won’t be the ones the House envisioned when it approved […]

More test tweaking

Seems reasonable. Students in elementary and middle school would get a little testing relief under a House bill that passed overwhelmingly on a preliminary vote Monday. Amid a backlash against state-mandated testing, the legislation eliminates writing exams in fourth and seventh grades. It also aims to alleviate some of the stress- inducing elements of the […]

School stuff

Just a basic roundup of education-related stories, since there’s so much going on. From the Trib, action in the House on testing in grade school. Elementary and middle school students currently take a total of 17 state exams before high school. They are tested each year in grades three through eight in reading and math, […]

House passes major changes to testing and graduation requirements

This is a big deal. Texas public high school students would face far fewer high-stakes exams and gain more freedom in choosing courses under a major education bill approved by the state House on Tuesday. Hours of debate among lawmakers centered on whether the state was giving students much-needed flexibility or scaling back too far […]

What vocational education is like now

One of the (many) themes around public education this session has been the theme that not everyone wants or needs to go to college, and that Texas’ public education system needs to prepare students for careers in certain industries, for which there is a lot of unfulfilled demand for skilled workers. We used to call […]

How much testing is too much?

There’s not a consensus on the right number of mandatory high school standardized exams, but a lot of people are saying that what we’re doing right now is too much. The number of high-stakes exams in Texas is the most nationwide, according to the Education Commission of the States. Texas students previously had to pass […]

Here come the STAAR reform bills

Fire one: State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, the newly appointed chairman of the House Public Education Committee, filed legislation Wednesday that would restructure the state’s high school graduation and student testing requirements. Aycock’s proposal, House Bill 5, would move public schools to an accountability system with grades of A through F, a concept that […]

More STAAR changes proposed

Everyone’s least favorite standardized test is a fat target these days. State Sen. Kel Seliger, the Amarillo Republican who chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee, filed a bill Tuesday offering broad changes to student assessment and high school graduation requirements in Texas. Senate Bill 225 would significantly reduce the number of state standardized tests students […]

Meet the new budget

Same as the old budget. Republican leaders in both chambers of the Legislature on Monday offered spare first drafts of the state’s next two-year budget that continue $5.4 billion in cuts to public education made last session and freeze funding for an embattled state agency set up to find a cure for cancer. Upending recent […]

Everybody hates the STAAR test now

In reading this story about the flood of legislation being filed to scale back or defer the STAAR tests, I am struck, but not surprised, by the genesis of this activity. The clamor for change may have more to do with who’s finally speaking up, said Patricia López, a research associate at the Texas Center […]

TAB yields on testing

Retreat! Some of the strongest advocates for high-stakes testing, Texas business leaders now want to cut the number of exams students must pass to finish high school, the latest attempt to ease tougher graduation requirements that went into effect last year. The number of high-stakes tests would fall from 15 to as few as six […]

Some sanity on STAAR

This is a welcome development. A requirement that the state exams count toward 15 percent of a student’s course grade sparked a backlash last spring over the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, among parents whose ninth-graders were the first to take the more rigorous exams. A statewide parent group emerged out […]

TAB does not intend to release its hostage

And why should they, if it’s a viable strategy? Representatives from the Texas Coalition for a Competitive Workforce, which includes major business groups and local chambers of commerce, said at a news conference that the assessment and accountability system known as the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness cannot be rolled back. Too many […]

Pauken responds to Hammond

Tom Pauken responds to Bill Hammond on the subject of school accountability. Hammond encourages us to “stay the course” of the existing high-stakes testing system and “4×4” curriculum that have come to dominate public education in Texas. Implicit in this expensive testing system (the cost to Texas taxpayers is an estimated $450 million over a […]

TAB takes a hostage

Can’t say I’m surprised by this tactic. Leaders in the business community said Wednesday that they would not stand for increased funding for education if it came with any rollback of accountability standards in Texas public schools. “If we are going to remain competitive in the world’s market, we are going to have to have […]

STAAR pushback

The House Public Ed committee gets an earful. Members of the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday questioned why the first batch of students who took the end-of-course exams scored so poorly. For example, 55 percent of ninth-graders met the minimum passing standard on the English writing test, and only 3 percent hit the college […]

Not a great start for the STAAR tests

Whatever we think about standardized tests, we’ll need to do better than this. Thousands of Houston-area high school students failed the state’s new standardized exams and must retake them – or risk not graduating. Preliminary test results released by several local districts Thursday reveal that ninth-graders struggled the most on the writing exam, indicating they […]

Are the end of course standards too low?

Beginning this year, high school students must pass new end of course exams in a variety of subjects in order to be able to graduate. These tests begin in the ninth grade and continue through the 12th. The standards will be relaxed for the first couple of years while everyone gets used to them. Some […]

Are you smarter than a Texas high school student?

Well, why don’t you take this sample STAAR test and find out? It’s very much non-trivial. I got 11 out of 15 correct – I punted on the two physics questions and on the first World History question, though in retrospect I might have gotten it right if I’d thought about it, and I guessed […]

Electing educators

This sounds good, but there are a couple of things missing. More than a dozen Republicans and Democrats who have sat on school boards are running for the Texas House this year, and a backlash over spending cuts and standardized testing might help them get there. Legislators sliced per-student spending last year, prompting schools to […]

Texas high school graduation rate improved over the last decade

According to one report, anyway. Texas’ graduation rate for high school students increased 1.9 percent since 2002 to just below the national average, according to a new report by a coalition of education groups. The report found that high school graduation rates rose from 73.5 percent to 75.4 percent between 2002 and 2009, and pulled […]

Shapiro backs STAAR delay

This was unexpected. Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, said Monday in a letter to [TEA Commissioner Robert] Scott that ninth-graders taking the exams this year should be given a reprieve from the 15 percent requirement during the phase-in of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. “We strongly support the transition to […]

Make sure you measure everything

A lot of groups are measuring a lot of things related to the state’s cuts to public education funding, but there’s one big thing not mentioned in this story that needs to be accurately tracked as well. In March, the Texas Education Agency will release the official numbers on school district employment for the 2011-12 […]