Controversy Over Texas’ STAAR and End-of-Course Tests

Feb 14, 2012 by

Donna Garner

by Donna Garner –

 

I would urge all Texas parents of public school children to listen to the video clip of the first 44 minutes of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) meeting (1.26.12) of the Full Board. In it Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott and the SBOE:

 

  • · Discussed the new STAAR and End-of-Course tests.

 

  • · Reiterated that even if local school districts decide to take the Obama administration’s federal dollars to implement the Common Core Standards, Texas law still mandates that all schools in Texas teach the state-adopted curriculum standards (TEKS).

 

  • · Debated the problems with the 15% rule and the fact that the Texas Legislature did not provide direction to districts as to how to match the scale score (on the STAAR/EOC’s) to a student’s grade-point average.

 

  • · [Sen. Shapiro and other Texas Senators sent a letter yesterday recommending that the TEA delay for one year the implementation of the 15% rule but that the EOC’s would still count toward a student’s graduation requirements starting with 9th graders this school year.]

 

  • · Reviewed the number of assessment days that would be required this year – 3 to 4 in the primary grades and 10 – 14 in high school. Retest days would be extra. Chris Cloudt of the TEA explained that the paper copies of EOC assessment results (9th grade only this year) would be mailed to parents by June 8 but that the online results would be available for local administrators three to four days sooner to help them in their planning for student intervention leading up to the testing retakes in July.

 

  • · Commissioner Scott responded to some Board members’ concerns over the number of assessments. He reiterated his support for testing and said that many vocations in life require individuals to pass tests; but he also said that too many Texas schools have perverted the accountability system by giving numerous benchmarked (formative, periodic) TAKS tests and making the TAKS tests totally drive the day-to-day curriculum. Scott said that with the new curriculum standards and new STAAR/EOC’s, such teaching totally to the test would not be productive. The new tests will require in-depth knowledge and reasoning skills, and trying to memorize the questions will no longer work.

 

  • · Comm. Scott also went on to explain that a new accountability system will be forthcoming and that it will try to incentivize schools by measuring their progress not only on academics but also on successes in other areas of school life (e.g., Fine Arts, Careers and Technology, etc.).

 

To hear the discussion for yourself, please go to the TEA link (below); click on SBOE Committee of the Full Board – 1.26.12; click on Archive Video Part 1; and then go to marker 0:17 through 44:28. The TEA link is here: http://www.texasadmin.com/tea.shtml

 

 

========================

Following are excerpts from my e-mail that I sent to Senator Florence Shapiro today in response to her comments in the 2.13.12 article posted in the Austin American Statesman:

 

To: Sen. Florence Shapiro

From: Donna Garner

Re: STAAR/EOC’s, 15% rule

Date: 2.14.12

 

Senator Shapiro, I believe you have done the right thing; and I am very appreciative that you have not let yourself nor your fellow Senators be pressured into delaying the STAAR-EOC’s.

 

As we have discussed on numerous occasions, it is those tests that will force educators to move away from the miserable “old” TEKS curriculum standards and start teaching the new-and-improved ELAR, Science, and Social Studies curriculum standards (TEKS). [New-and-improved Math TEKS should be finalized in the next several months.]

 

It is those standards that are tied to knowledge-based, academic, grade-level-specific, clearly worded, measurable standards that will make sure our public school students once again learn the basics so that they are able to move into higher-level thinking skills in the upper grade levels and in college.

 

The problem with the 15% rule came when the legislation did not lay out how districts should match a scale score on the STAAR/EOC to a numerical score (GPA)…

 

I am holding my breath that the STAAR-EOC’s will actually be good tests, but I have confidence that Comm. Scott has overseen the test development. Now if the TEA/Pearson will just make sure the tests are graded without manipulating the students’ scores…

 

…By the way, if I am not mistaken, Rep. Eissler’s HB 500 not only made the 15% rule optional for school districts (which would have been foolish to allow districts to decide for themselves whether or not to enforce the 15% rule); but HB 500 also reduced the number of required EOC’s for graduation from 12 to 4. Kate Alexander should have added that to her article.

 

 

Donna Garner

 

===========================

To read the Austin American-Statesman article dated 2.13.12, please go to the following link:

 

2.13.12 – “Shapiro Backs Delay on STAAR Grade Provision” – Austin American Statesman — http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/shapiro-backs-delay-on-staar-grade-provision-2174179.html

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.