Education Commissioner: “The System Needs to Catch Up”

Aug 27, 2014 by

Pressed to explain why the state had delayed a transition away from lower passing standards on state exams, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams told state lawmakers Tuesday that classroom instruction in the state had failed to meet the rigor demanded by the new tests.

“I’m not going to say it’s blame, but I am going to say that it is a function of instruction not rising to the level to provide that kind of learning to get to that place,” he said at a Senate Education Committee hearing. “We have moved the bar significantly higher than it has ever been, and the system needs time to catch up.”

Members of the committee questioned Williams on why the state had strayed from the original plan to phase in higher standards at the end of the second year of the new STAAR tests.

“At this rate we will never get to the level we were going to get to just two years ago,” said state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, a San Antonio Democrat.

Lawmakers also expressed concern about the 16 percent of high school seniors who continued to fail the state exams they needed to graduate.

“After all of this, 16 percent of our students, after taking and taking and taking and retaking the same test over and over again, and we aren’t moving,” Van de Putte said. “How do we know that the way that we are utilizing this instrument is actually measuring what we need to measure?”

via Education Commissioner: “The System Needs to Catch Up” | The Texas Tribune.

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