• Assessment Bills Passed by the 2015 Legislature


    HB 18
    Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Reports to School Districts

    Requires an institution of higher education that administers a TSI test to report to each school district from which assessed students graduated all available information on student scores and performance on the TSI, including student demographic information. Mandates the THECB adopt rules as necessary to implement these provisions in a manner that complies with various state and federal laws regarding confidentiality or privacy of student information. Applies this section beginning with TSI tests administered to entering undergraduate students for the fall 2016 semester.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    Other provisions listed under Curriculum, Staff Development, and the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium.

    HB 743
    STAAR/TEKS Review

    Requires that before a STAAR is administered, it be determined to be valid and reliable, based on empirical evidence, by an independent entity.

    Mandates that the STAAR be designed to be completed within a certain amount of time by 85 percent of the students to whom it is administered: 120 minutes for students in grades 3-5 and 180 minutes for students in grades 6-8. Prevents the amount of time allowed for STAAR administration from exceeding eight hours, and requires the test administration to occur on only one day.

    Mandates TEA to reimburse, from appropriated funds, a school district for fees associated with the administration of college preparation tests. Removes references to vendor reimbursement and replaces with school district reimbursement language.

    Requires TEA to develop, by rule, a comprehensive methodology for auditing and monitoring performance under contracts for services to develop or administer state tests. Mandates TEA to ensure that all new and renewed contracts include a provision that TEA or a designee may conduct periodic contract compliance reviews, without advance notice, to monitor vendor performance.

    Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately (NOTE: A September 4 TEA letter to administrators states that ONLY the redesigned writing tests will be ready for the spring 2016 administration.)

    Other provisions (relating to TEKS review) listed under Curriculum.

    HB 1164
    Writing Assessment Pilot Program

    Requires TEA to conduct a study during the 2015-16 school year, in coordination with the entity that has been contracted to develop or implement state assessments, to develop a writing assessment method as an alternative to current STAAR and EOC writing assessments.

    Mandates the method be designed to assess four specific aspects of a student’s writing:

    1. mastery of writing TEKS through timed writing samples
    2. improvement of writing skills from the beginning to the end of the school year
    3. ability to follow the writing process from a rough draft to a final product
    4. ability to produce more than one type of writing style

    Requires TEA to establish a pilot program to implement the writing assessment method in designated school districts during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. Mandates TEA to include at least one large urban district, one medium-sized district, and one rural district. Requires each selected district to have a student enrollment that is representative of diverse demographics and socioeconomic backgrounds. Mandates that TEA, to the extent practicable, select the number of participating districts that will help offset the cost of the pilot.

    Requires TEA to establish the process for consolidating student writing assessments before submitting for scoring. Mandates that individuals who score the writing assessment be coordinated jointly by:

    1. the participating school district
    2. a public junior college or institution of higher education that has an agreement with the participating district
    3. the regional education service center that serves the participating district

    Mandates that a random sampling of scored student writing assessments, the size of which TEA will determine, be delivered to TEA.

    Requires TEA, by September 1, 2016, to prepare and deliver a report to various state officials covering the development of the writing assessment method.

    Requires TEA, by September 1 of both 2017 and 2018, to deliver a report to various state officials that:

    1. evaluates the implementation and progress of the pilot program
    2. makes recommendations regarding the continuation of expansion of the pilot program

    Mandates that TEA adopt rules as necessary for administration purposes of this section, which expires September 1, 2019.

    Earliest effective date: September 1, 2015

    HB 1613
    High School End-of-Course (EOC) Assessment

    Provides that a student enrolled in a college preparatory math or English language arts course under Education Code Section 28.014 (HB 5, 83rd Legislature requirement for seniors who have not yet demonstrated postsecondary readiness) who satisfies the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) college readiness benchmarks on an approved test given at the end of the college preparatory course to be exempt from the Algebra I or English I and II EOC exams, as applicable, even if the student did not perform satisfactorily on a previous administration of the applicable EOC exam. Allows a student who fails to meet the TSI benchmarks to retake the appropriate EOC exam or the approved tests for TSI.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    Other provisions listed under Curriculum.

    HB 2349
    Assessments, Performance Standards, and Course Requirements

    Allows a student to earn a performance acknowledgment on the student’s diploma and transcript for outstanding performance on an established nationally norm-referenced preliminary college preparation test used to determine college/career readiness, college admission, or qualification for an industry certification or license.

    Defers release of STAAR and EOC question and answer keys as necessary to develop additional state tests.

    Requires a student in the Foundation High School Program to be administered an EOC exam only for a course in which the student is enrolled and for which an EOC exam is administered.

    Requires a TEA study of students moving in from other states and a separate report of state test scores from these out-of-state transfer students.

    Repeals outdated provisions pertaining to level of performance on special purpose questions (college readiness questions on EOC exams formerly used to determine college readiness for graduation purposes) and required enrollment in certain college preparatory courses (Texas Education Code, Section 39.025[b-2], which was not feasible to implement after HB 5, 83rd Legislature was adopted). Maintains college preparatory courses required in TEC Section 28.014 established with HB 5). Repeals feasibility study of allowing a student to satisfy EOC requirements with successful completion of a dual-credit course (study report was issued in December 2010).

    Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    SB 149
    Individual High School Graduation Committees for Certain Students

    Applies to a grade 11 or 12 student who has failed to comply with the EOC performance requirements for not more than two courses. Requires a district to establish an individual graduation committee (IGC) for each qualifying student at the end of or after the student’s 11th grade year to determine whether the student may qualify to graduate.

    Mandates the IGC be composed of several specified parties: the principal or designee; the teacher of each course for which the student failed to perform satisfactorily on the EOC and the department chair or lead teacher supervising that teacher; and as applicable, the student’s parent or person standing in parental relation, or a designated advocate if the parent or person standing in parental relation is unable to serve, or the student, at the student’ option, if the student is at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor. Requires the school district to provide an appropriate translator for a person who is unable to speak English. Requires the commissioner to establish procedures for appointing an alternative member, if necessary, except that districts must establish such procedures for the 2014-15 school year.

    Requires the superintendent to establish procedures for convening an IGC. Mandates that the district ensure a good faith effort to a timely notification of the parent or other appropriate person of the time, place, and purpose of the IGC meeting. Requires the notice to be clear and easy to understand, given in person or by mail, and in English, Spanish, or, to the extent practicable, the recipient’s native language.

    Establishes eligibility requirements for graduation that include a student’s successful completion of the curriculum requirements identified by the SBOE under Texas Education Code Section 28.025(a) (requirements for the Foundation High School Program) or as otherwise provided by the transition plan adopted by the commissioner under Section 28.025(h) (transition plan for replacing the Minimum, Recommended, and Advanced graduation programs). Mandates that the student’s IGC recommend additional requirements by which a student may qualify to graduate, including remediation, and for each EOC on which the student fails to perform satisfactorily, completion of a project or preparation of a portfolio of work samples that demonstrate proficiency in the subject area. Allows a student to submit coursework previously completed to satisfy a recommended additional requirement.

    Requires the IGC, in determining whether a student is qualified to graduate, to consider the following 15 items or categories of information about the student:

    1. recommendation of the teacher of the pertinent course
    2. grade of the pertinent course
    3. score on each EOC on which the student failed to perform satisfactorily
    4. performance on any additional IGC-recommended requirements
    5. number of hours of remediation attended by the student, including a college preparatory course or transitional college course in reading or math
    6. school attendance rate
    7. satisfaction of any Texas Success Initiative college benchmarks.
    8. successful completion of a dual-credit course in English, math, science, or social studies
    9. successful completion of a pre-AP, AP, or IB program course in English, math, science, or social studies
    10. rating of “advanced high” on most recent TELPAS
    11. score of 50 or greater on a CLEP exam
    12. score on ACT, SAT, or Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test
    13. completion of a sequence of CTE courses needed to attain an industry-recognized credential or certificate
    14. overall preparedness for postsecondary success
    15. other academic information designated for consideration by the IGC

    Provides that after considering these criteria, the IGC may determine that the student is qualified to graduate. Mandates that a student for whom an IGC is established may graduate and receive a high school diploma only if the student successfully completes all additional requirements recommended by the IGC, meets the curriculum requirements, and the IGC’s vote is unanimous.

    Requires the commissioner to establish, by rule, a timeline for making a determination. (Districts must establish the timelines for the 2014-15 school year.) Establishes that these provisions do not create a property interest in graduation, and the IGC’s decision is final and may not be appealed.

    Requires that, notwithstanding any action taken by an IGC, a district must administer an EOC exam to any student who fails to perform satisfactorily as provided by Section 39.025(b) (education code that allows a student to retake an EOC exam if the student did not achieve satisfactory performance on it). States that for purposes of Section 39.053(c)(education code that allows a student to earn a diploma after successfully retaking an EOC), this is considered an assessment required for graduation retaken by a student.

    Adds a requirement that each school district report through PEIMS the number of students each school year for whom an IGC is established and the number awarded diplomas based on IGC decisions. Requires a district to report the information by December 1 of the school year following the year the student is awarded a diploma. Mandates that TEA include this information on its website.

    Provides that a student who, after retaking an EOC exam for Algebra I or English II, has failed to perform satisfactorily, but who receives a proficient score on the Texas Success Initiative exam for that subject, satisfies the EOC requirement.

    States that an open-enrollment charter school is subject to the same IGC requirements as other public schools.
    Requires the commissioner to adopt rules necessary to implement these provisions by the 2015-16 school year. Provides that these provisions expire September 1, 2017, except that reporting requirements expire September 1, 2018.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    SB 453
    Minimum Scores Needed for Credit by Exam for CLEP

    Reduces from 60 to 50 the minimum scaled score required for a student in grade 6 or above to earn credit for a subject by examination administered through the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP).

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    SB 1776
    Exemption from Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Assessment

    Exempts high school students from the TSI for two years after they graduate if they successfully complete a college preparatory course in the exempted area within the first year of enrollment in an institution of higher education. Applies to students entering institutions of higher education for the fall 2015 semester. Requires THECB to collect data and analyze the effectiveness of college preparatory courses based on students’ successful completion of first-year, college-level courses in exempted areas, and report findings to partnering institutions of higher education and school districts.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately