Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Meeting October 2020: Rule changes to note

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) approved amendments to the Texas Administrative Code, Title 19, Part 1, Chapter 4, Subchapter C, §§4.56, 4.57, and 4.62, concerning the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) during its board meeting this week. TSI is in place to determine college readiness and aid students who may need extra support to successfully complete their college courses.

THECB approved the use of an updated assessment tool for helping to determine college readiness. R. Jerel Booker, assistant commissioner for college readiness and success, stated that the updated assessment tool was better aligned with current academic benchmarks and had been developed with faculty input to improve the assessment that was created in 2013. He reassured the THECB that metrics, in addition to the assessment, will continue to be used to determine college readiness but that this tool will be useful in identifying students who are on or near the readiness line.

The THECB also adopted a rule change that will require 100 percent of developmental education students to take corequisites starting in the Fall semester of 2021. Traditionally, many students not defined as college-ready take developmental (non-credit) coursework first, while corequisites are regular for-credit courses. The board approved this change despite concerns that the rule may create barriers for non-traditional students seeking higher education. The current rule requires 75 percent of all developmental education students to be enrolled in a corequisite course. This approach has shown promise in helping students complete college gateway courses successfully, but it is still new, and the research is unclear on the benefits of such a policy for all student populations. Many researchers and educators in higher education, including the Community College Research Center (CCRC), have spoken out to say that the corequisite model has not been studied thoroughly enough to justify its increased level of implementation. Given that not every student enters college with the same needs or resources, a one-size-fits-all corequisite requirement is not sensitive to the circumstances of individual students and may have the unintended consequence of limiting access or alienating certain student populations.