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HB 5 Will Be Debated on the House Floor Tuesday

On Tuesday, March 26, HB 5 by Rep. Aycock will be debated on the House floor. HB 5 is much needed legislation that would make improvements to the current state graduation and assessment systems. The bill is most beneficial to students because it:

  1. Reduces the overemphasis of high-stakes testing by reducing the number of required end-of-course exams from 15 to 5.
  2. Eliminates the cumulative score requirement and the 15% rule.
  3. The reduction of end-of-course exams will provide more time for engaging instruction and project-based learning and will allow teachers to assess student achievement beyond their responses to multiple choice test questions.
  4. Creates one “foundation” diploma that will prepare students for postsecondary opportunities, while providing them with flexibility and options to earn endorsements in areas of personal interest in the following areas: STEM, Business & Industry, Public Services, Arts & Humanities, or Multidisciplinary Studies.
  5. Allows all high school graduates to be eligible to apply for admission to a Texas public four-year university.

Find your Legislator 

Many amendments to this bill are also expected to be debated. Urge your legislator to OPPOSE any floor amendments that would:

  • Increase the number of EOCs required to be administered, regardless of whether they count for graduation or “local diagnostic” purposes.
  • Change any of the current EOCs set forth in HB 5 required for graduation purposes listed above.
  • Make the foundation program or endorsements more prescriptive and less flexible for students to pursue courses of interest.

Some other features of HB 5:

Graduation programs

  • Creates a 24-credit “foundation” diploma consisting of:

4 ELA credits including English I, II, III, and an advanced English course;3 math credits including Algebra I, geometry, and an advanced math course;3 science credits including biology, integrated physics and chemistry, and one advanced science course;3 social studies credits including world geography or world history, U.S. History, and at least a .5 credit in government and .5 credit in economics;2 credits in the same language other than English (allows two credits of a computer programming language to substitute; for students served in special education, two academic electives could substitute);1 fine arts credit;1 P.E. credit; and7 elective credits.

  • Creates a distinguished achievement level available above the foundation program that can be attained in any of the endorsement areas. Students must complete an additional science credit and four credits in math, which must include Algebra II.

Assessment

  • Allows students the option to take an EOC for Algebra II and English III, and prohibits student scores on these EOCs from being used for accountability purposes.
  • Allows satisfactory performance on AP, SAT, and ACT exams to satisfy graduation requirements.
  • Allows districts to partner with community colleges and industry to develop rigorous courses that count for graduation purposes.

Accountability

  • Creates a new three-category rating system that evaluates schools on: 
    • academic performance; 
    • financial performance; and 
    • a local rating system based on community and student engagement.
  • Issues ratings in the form of letter grades, with a grade of A, B, or C indicating an “acceptable” rating, and a grade of F as “unacceptable.”