Sunday, May 27, 2007

SB 1031 To The Governor’s Desk

It’s not the budget, but at least we will have new testing parameters for all students in the state of Texas to graduate from high school. And if you thought that SB 1031 was all about testing, TAKS to EOC exams, you’d almost be right.


I compared the Introduced version of SB 1031, one that I expounded on in this post, to the enrolled version that is going to the governor’s desk to be signed.

The introduced version is 22 pages long. The enrolled version is 36 pages long. That’s a 63% rate of expansion.

So what is new here? Primarily it has to do with an oversight committee that was added.

It’s all in the description


“relating to the administration of certain assessment instruments in public schools; providing a criminal penalty.”


“relating to public school accountability and the administration of certain assessment instruments in public schools; providing a criminal penalty”

More accountability.

The oversight committee will be a 15 member committee with, among others, members chosen by the governor, lieutenant governor, and House Speaker. Their charge is “to conduct a comprehensive review of the public school accountability system.”

Mainly it relates to the new “assessment instruments” but it goes beyond that, mandating that they rate the accountability system vis-à-vis the NCLB requirements. They will conduct hearings and get feedback from the public (aka whining from the parents).

The only good thing about this section of the bill is that the committee goes away on January 13th 2009.

Other changes made:

An actual fix to a problem that I saw immediately. If the EOC exam will count for 15% of a student’s final grade in the course, how does that work if the student retakes the exam? Well, how it works is this: the original EOC grade stays with the student’s course grade, but the final EOC grade is included in the student’s “cumulative grade”.

EOCs will be administered 2 weeks later than TAKS were – early May

EOC scores go on the student’s permanent record.

EOC may be an existing test, and not one developed specifically by the state as in TAKS.

Added to the Introduced bill in the section where bill required that EOC tests contain optional questions that will rate a student’s college readiness, addition of optional questions to assess a student’s likelihood of succeeding in an AP class.

This one is a little weird. Why this? It isn’t like the questions are binding or anything, as the section includes language that states that students cannot be turned away from taking an AP class because of their performance on these test questions.

I smell the College Board’s hand in this. They’re auditing AP classes nationwide right now to cull out courses that do not meet their minimum standards. Yep, this is from the College Board.

EOC cumulative score rules are given some very odd rules in addition to the odd rules that existed in the Introduced version.

Kept: Cumulative scores of all EOCs must average a 70 in order for the student to graduate. There are other rules here, but they apply to graduation plans and I won’t go into that for now.

Also kept: the individual scores on EOCs can be below 70, just as long as the average of all scores is 70 or above.

New in the Enrolled version: A student who scores below a 60 cannot have their test included in the cumulative score. That is, you can’t score a 50 on an Algebra II EOC, and a 90 on a World Geography EOC, and have that 50 count toward a 70 average score.

If the student doesn’t score at least 60, they must retake the test.

And a new score rule added to SB 1031 that is positively draconian. Senior students who are deemed “unlikely to achieve the minimum EOC cumulative score” in a subject area must enroll in a class in the deficient subject area during their senior year and pass the EOC, but on a scale of 40 – a curved score. A very nicely curved score.

They pushed back full implementation of the EOCs to ninth graders entering high school in the 2011-2012 school year. I suppose this has something to do with the 15-member committee on accountability filing its report in January 2009.

And lastly, where the Introduced version required that all 10th grade students take the NMSQT (National Merit Test) – fully funded by the state – the Enrolled version does not specify which test, just that it be national and norm-referenced.

Like the NMSQT. Or do we have others who are coming out with tests?

There are a few other changes, but these are what I consider to be the major changes. I thought that I’d share them with you.

But has anyone else other than I realized that between now and full implementation of this new testing system, we will have the 81st and 82nd Legislatures to redeal with this?

Oh, and all that stuff that Shapiro included on punishing teachers in the Introduced version?

They kept all of that

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