Putting the State’s Standardized Tests in Their Proper Place

In 2015 the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 149 as a two-year experiment to allow students to graduate from high school based on an assessment of their whole body of work, not their inability to pass one or two of the state’s standardized end-of-course exams (the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR). […]

Why A-F Ratings for Schools Do Not Make the Grade

The issuance of A-F ratings for Texas schools this week was greeted with a torrent of criticism from educators. Even though the ratings were incomplete, based on last year’s data, and did not count for purposes of state accountability sanctions, the criticism was fully justified. Our counterparts at the Texas Association of School Administrators have […]

Tell TEA You Want Meaningful Input on Post-NCLB Testing, Not an Ill-Designed Online Survey

The more we look at the Texas Education Agency’s online survey inviting comment on how the state should implement new testing flexibility offered by federal law, the less satisfied we are that the survey will produce anything meaningful. Let us explain and then recommend something you can do about it. First, the background:  The new […]

Have Your Say on Changes Needed in Testing and Accountability

The new federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act—dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—allows states the freedom to make a sharp turn away from the test-and-punish model of accountability promoted by the discredited No Child Left Behind Act. But in many states educators are finding state policy leaders reluctant to use their newfound freedom to […]

Annual State Accountability Ratings and Passing Rates Reported

Though teachers and parents are voicing more doubts than ever about the validity of standardized state exams as a measure of student achievement, the state is still using these State of Texas Assessments of Academic  Readiness as the foundation of student and school performance evaluation. Today the Texas Education Agency issued ratings for districts and […]

What is Educational Efficiency?

The Senate Education Committee today heard from two scholars who have worked out different rating systems linking student performance to district expenditure levels. Both contended that their methodologies yield meaningful ratings that could become the basis for state policies providing performance incentives—including extra funding or exemptions from state regulation for districts deemed high-performing. Several senators, […]

Texas AFT Comments on Proposed Federal Testing and Accountability Regulations

Texas AFT has filed comments with the U.S. Department of Education on proposed regulations concerning testing and accountability under the new Every Student Succeeds Act, the successor to the late and unlamented No Child Left Behind Act. Our chief concern is to make sure that the hard-won freedom in this new law from NCLB test-and-punish […]

A Skirmish in the Battle over the Proper Role of State Tests

The final meeting of the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability revealed unresolved tensions among its members’ competing visions of the future of state testing. The members, appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Joe Straus, were unable to reach consensus on an explicit rejection of high-stakes testing […]

The Fight against Testing Inertia on the State Level

The Texas Next Generation Commission on Assessments and Accountability is expected to hold its final meeting on recommendations for changes in the use of standardized testing in Austin tomorrow. The recently published draft of their final report to the Legislature falls short of the broad challenge to the misuses of standardized testing that many educators, […]

New Survey Finds Overwhelming Discontent with State Testing

An online survey on testing and accountability by State Board of Education chair Donna Bahorich drew responses last month from 27,186 Texans, and their take on the state’s current testing regime was overwhelmingly negative. The Houston Republican and her colleagues on the 15-member, elected State Board reviewed the responses today and voted to forward them […]