Blog

    5 million reasons for less testing and smarter accountability.

    Texas public schools educate 5 million students.

    These students need meaningful coursework, not endless exams. Support an accountability system that emphasizes actual learning, not “teaching to the test.”

    Reduce High-Stakes Testing

    Texas’ efforts to create a standards-based accountability system have resulted over time in a test-based accountability system that overemphasizes testing to the exclusion of other important measures of student achievement.

    Texas currently requires 15 end of course (EOC) exams for graduation, far more than any other state that uses EOCs as a graduation requirement (5 exams or fewer is typical). This does not include interim assessments administered throughout the year to prepare students for STAAR exams.

    This overemphasis on testing shows up in the classroom. Teachers focus on teaching to the test – administering exercises that match the format and content of the STAAR exam – to the exclusion of other educational goals.

    Create A More Meaningful Accountability System

    The Texas Education Agency, with input from stakeholders, is currently in the process of developing a new accountability system for Texas public schools. Raise Your Hand Texas hopes to see changes made that will address many of the shortcomings in the current accountability system, including:

    • Eliminate “death by cell.” Currently, districts and campuses must meet 25 separate assessment measures, and could receive an Academically Unacceptable rating if they fail to meet one measure for one subgroup. This policy does not present an accurate and complete picture of student achievement.
    • Align accountability standards and reporting. Districts and campuses are confronted with a confusing array of state and federal accountability standards (often referred to as “trip wires”). These include state and federal accountability ratings under the Public Education Grants program, federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and the state accountability system – all released at different times of year. The result has been undue complexity for administrators and confusion for the public.

    TAKE ACTION

    Here’s what the Texas legislature can do to keep public schools strong:


    TESTING

    • Give local districts permanent flexibility on the 15% requirement.
    • Reduce the total number of End of Course exams, and the number of exams that students must pass to graduate.
    • Expedite action by the Commissioner to implement rules to allow AP/IB exams and the Dual Credit course completion to satisfy EOC requirement in that subject.

    ACCOUNTABILITY

    Raise Your Hand Texas is encouraged by the work being done by the Texas Education Agency and stakeholders to make significant changes to the state accountability system.

    Raise Your Hand Texas will monitor these developments and any legislation affecting the state accountability system. Proposals to improve the accountability system should:

    • Consider a variety of measures in arriving at an accountability rating, including student progress, while not making rating dependent on a single measure;
    • Consider factors other than performance on state assessments, including AP/IB and dual credit participation, graduation rates, CTE participation and similar measures of student achievement;
    • Provide meaningful performance results the public can readily access and understand; and
    • Simplify and align standards and reporting under the state and federal accountability systems.

    Download Issue Brief

    NextPrevious
    • HB5-header

      HB 5 and Meeting Industry Needs in Texas

      This is the sixth and final installation in our fall blog series, House Bill 5: Past, Present and Future. HB 5 is the landmark accountability and assessment legislation passed during the 83rd Texas Legislative Session (2013). We have explored what the bill did, how it came about, how it empowers Texas students, what it means for parents and how K-12 and Higher Ed are collaborative partners.

      Read More

    • HB5-header

      HB 5 Brings K-12 & Higher Ed Partnerships

      This is the fifth of six in our fall blog series, House Bill 5: Past, Present and Future. HB 5 is the landmark accountability and assessment legislation passed during the 83rd Texas Legislative Session (2013). We have explored what the bill did, how it came about, how it empowers Texas students, and what it means for parents.

      Read More

    • HB5-header

      Why House Bill 5 Matters to Parents

      This is the fourth of six in our fall blog series, House Bill 5: Past, Present and Future. HB 5 is the landmark accountability and assessment legislation passed during the 83rd Texas Legislative Session (2013). We have explored what the bill did, how it came about, and how it empowers Texas students. But as a concerned parent, what does HB 5 mean for you?

      Read More

    • HB5-header

      House Bill 5 Empowers Students

      This is the third of six in our fall blog series, House Bill 5: Past, Present and Future. HB 5 by Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock is the landmark accountability and assessment legislation passed during the 83rd Texas Legislative Session (2013).

       

      Read More

    • HB5-header

      House Bill 5 and the Advocacy Experience

      This is the second of six in our fall blog series, House Bill 5: Past, Present and Future. HB 5 by Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock is the landmark accountability and assessment legislation passed during the 83rd Texas Legislative Session (2013).

       

      Read More