Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Save Texas Seniors

One in 10 Texas Seniors may not graduate this year due to standardized testing.

Yes, 1 in 10.  Below is information that I received from TASA, Texas Association of School Administrators yesterday that outlines a bill in the Texas Senate that would give schools flexibility in the same way that they give schools flexibility with students in grades 5 and 8 who fail to meet the SSI (Student Success Initiative) requirements for promotion to the next grade.

Right now, Texas touts having the 2nd highest graduation rate in the nation at 88%.  If these seniors do not get some relief to the stringent testing requirements under STAAR EOC, I am certain that the Texas' graduation rate will drop significantly.   The chances of them passing STAAR EOC after graduation drop significantly because many of these students will choose not to return to school to get the remediation for this test.   While I do believe that all students must demonstrate proficiency to graduate, I believe that students must have multiple options to demonstrate that mastery, which is why I firmly support Senate Bill (SB) 149.

Here is what Senate Bill 149 would do to provide schools options to help all students graduate.

From TASA Communication 

SB 149 would allow school districts and charter schools to create individual graduation committees for students to determine whether a student qualifies to graduate despite failing to pass one or more EOCs. The committee is modeled after Grade Placement Committees in grades 5 and 8.

The Individual Graduation Committee (IGC) would include the following:
  • principal or the principal’s designee
  • teacher of the course in which the student failed the EOC
  • student’s school counselor
  • student’s parent or person standing in parental relation to the student, or a designated advocate, if applicable
Additional talking points for SB 149 include:
  • Students must still pass all courses required for graduation.
  • The vote for allowing the student to graduate must be unanimous.
  • The IGC may require additional measures for the student to graduate, including extra remediation and completion of projects or portfolios in the subject area in which the student failed the EOC.
  • The IGC is required to consider the following:
    • teacher recommendations
    • student’s grades in related courses
    • student’s score on the EOC
    • student performance on the any additional measures required by the IGC
    • number of remedial hours completed
    • student’s attendance
    • student’s performance on TSI
    • completion of dual credit courses, pre-AP, AP, IB courses
    • student’s rating of “advanced high” on TELPAS
    • student’s score of 50 or greater on a CLEP exam
    • CTE certification
    • any other academic information designated for consideration by the school board
TASA, other administrative organizations, TASB, and principal and teacher organizations all expressed support for SB 149 during Thursday’s hearing.


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