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Seliger Files SB 225 That Modifies Graduation, Testing Requirements

On Tuesday, Senator Kel Seliger (Amarillo) filed SB 225 that would alter both high school graduation programs and testing requirements. Some major features of the bill would:

  • Replace the MHSP, RHSP, and DAP graduation programs with one new program called the "Foundation High School Program."
  • Provide that the Foundation Program consist of the following number of credits: 4 ELA; 3 math; 2 science; 3 social studies; 2 languages other than English; 1 fine arts; 1 P.E.; and 10 elective credits for a total of 26 credits.
  • Provide for more advanced courses and give authority to the TEA Commissioner to adopt the advanced courses.
  • Allow students to earn endorsements with 5 credits in five categories consisting of (1) science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; (2) business and industry; (3) human services; (4) humanities; (5) and, general studies consisting of a combination of credits from the four other endorsement categories.
  • Provide a transition plan to implement the new graduation requirements in the 2014–15 school year and provide provisions that allow students under current graduation programs to participate in the Foundation Program under particular circumstances.
  • Eliminate the requirement that EOC exams count as 15 percent of a student's grade in the course.
  • Require that all 15 of the current EOC exams would continue to be administered to students enrolled in those courses, but only passage of the five tests indicated would be required for the purposes of graduation. The results of the EOC exams not required for graduation would be used at the discretion of local districts. In other words, depending on the endorsement route and selection of courses, some students may still end up taking 15 EOC exams even though only five of those would count for graduation purposes.
  • Replace the cumulative score requirement with a scale score requirement of satisfactory performance to be determined by the TEA Commissioner on the following EOC exams: Algebra I; English III; biology; and U.S. History.
  • Remove the current "minimum" score requirement on EOC exams.
  • Change the requirement for four-year higher education institutes to allow the institutes to admit students who graduate under the new Foundation Program (vs. the current RHSP).

It is anticipated that there will be numerous bills filed in the next few weeks that address graduation, assessment, and accountability requirements.