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Posts Tagged ‘standardized testing’

Time again to talk textbooks

Kathy Miller of the Texas Freedom Network sounded the alarm in the Sunday op-eds. The last time Texas adopted social studies textbooks – in 2002 – political activists and members of the state education board themselves demanded scores of changes to content they didn’t like. Publishers resisted some, such as demands to downplay slavery as […]

HISD hires its defenders for the teacher evaluation lawsuit

I have to say, I’m a bit uncomfortable with this. Earlier this year, seven teachers sued the Houston Independent School District in federal court over their evaluation system. That system uses a statistical formula and student test scores to grade teachers. At its meeting this week, the Houston school district decided to hire a high-profile […]

Meet T-TESS

Texas has a new teacher evaluation system on the way. It won’t come without a fight. Texas’ more than 380,000 public school teachers are girding for a tumultuous few years as a new method of grading their performance is expected to generate heated legislative debates and perhaps legal challenges. Already, the Houston Independent School District […]

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 […]

Abbott denies his pre-k plan means standardized testing for 4-year-olds

Glad we cleared that up. After questions were raised about language in a policy proposal that appears to call for the biannual testing of pre-kindergarten students, Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott’s campaign is clarifying his early education plan, saying he is not calling for such tests. The proposal — the first detailed glimpse at Abbott’s education policy — […]

New accountability standards, more schools on the failing list

Not a good headline. The number of officially faltering public schools in Texas almost doubled last year, in part because of higher accountability standards imposed by state education policy. The Texas Education Agency released Thursday a list of 892 schools that fell short of minimum standards and which have been placed on the Public Education […]

School finance trial do-over set to start soon

Once more into the breach. Hundreds of school districts in North Texas and across the state will resume their courtroom battle over funding in January, arguing that new money and reduced testing did little to fix Texas’ school finance system. State and legislative leaders contend changes they approved this year have blunted the districts’ arguments. […]

What can we do to improve reading skills in HISD?

I wish I knew. HISD students continue to struggle with reading while matching or exceeding their peers’ math performance in other big cities, according to national test data released Wednesday. Reading scores for the district’s fourth- and eighth-graders have stagnated for six years. In math, however, the middle-school results have improved over time, and HISD […]

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 […]

Back to court for the school finance lawsuit

Like deja vu all over again. State district court Judge John Dietz likened the state’s school finance case to the soap opera As The World Turns when he opened Wednesday’s hearing on whether to reconsider evidence in the trial that concluded in February. He drew the comparison not because of the trial’s drama but because […]

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 […]

Pauken for Governor

We have our first official non-fringe candidate for Governor next year. Saying he hoped to reunite the “Reagan coalition of social and economic conservatives,” former Texas Workforce Commissioner Tom Pauken confirmed to the Tribune that he will file to run for governor in 2014. “I like [Gov.] Rick Perry. I like [Attorney General] Greg Abbott,” […]

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 […]

School finance system ruled unconstitutional

Surely no one is surprised by this. The system Texas uses to fund public schools violates the state’s constitution by not providing enough money and failing to distribute the money in a fair way, a judge ruled Monday in a landmark decision that could force the Legislature to overhaul the way it pays for education. […]

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 […]

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 […]

Early extension for Grier

This was a surprise. The Houston school board gave Superintendent Terry Grier a big but not unanimous vote of confidence Thursday, extending his contract through 2016 and awarding him $115,000 in bonuses for the last year. The board voted 6-2 to approve the surprise two-year extension, and the lone absent trustee said later that she […]

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 […]

Eight billion dollars

That’s how much is needed per year to make public education whole. Lynn Moak told state District Judge John Dietz that it will take more than $8 billion a year in additional money to get students on target to graduate and to meet new college and career readiness standards. About 150,000 9th-grade students, or 47 […]