We’re getting into crunch time for the Texas Legislature, which adjourns in 19 days. So here’s a brief update on some of the education-related bills that I’m watching. The star of the show is HB3, the school finance bill. That one is going to effect all of us and there are many organizations watching that bill. So I’m going to focus on the mathematics curriculum and assessment related bills.
Updates from April 25 blog:
- HB2983, which establishes testing math/reading/writing at benchmark grades (3, 5, and 8) instead of every grade has passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Education Committee.
- SB1453, which requires districts to allow the use of graphing apps on mobile devices in lieu of requiring students to purchase graphing calculators, was heard in the House Public Education Committee on May 7.
- 5/10 UPDATE: SB1374, which allows Algebra 1 and Geometry to be taken concurrently, has been scheduled for public hearing in the House Public Education Committee on 5/14/2019.
HB4242 – Make STAAR On-Grade Level Again
I didn’t put this bill on my watch list because it primarily relates to Reading and I know that the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts (TCTELA) is on it. However, as I was browsing my Facebook feed over coffee this morning, I noticed that it has some mathematics implications.
HB4242 requires several things.
- Each assessment instrument must actually align with the TEKS at that grade level and cannot include reading passages at reading levels higher than the grade level being tested (my mind is boggled that such a law is necessary, but you turn some bureaucrats and psychometricians loose…).
- Creates a special committee of Texas educators to review all passages to ensure appropriate reading level.
- TEA shall, with oversight from UT-Austin, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech, conduct a study of all 2018-19 and 2019-20 assessment instruments to determine their reading levels. The study shall be reported to the Legislature by December 1, 2019
- For 2018-19, temporarily suspend the use of STAAR to close a campus or determine whether a student advances to the next grade level. If the December 1 study reveals that 2019-20 assessments contain passages that are above grade level, then those sanctions are suspended for 2019-20 as well. And you can’t use STAAR data for interventions/sanctions after 2019-20, either.
This is a pretty stout bill. It was originally aimed at making sure STAAR Reading is at grade level, not above. However, the Committee Substitute HB4242 (which was voted on by the House) expands this to any state assessment (see the Bill Analysis at the HB4242 link above). So I see a few implications for mathematics here.
- For 2018-19, we may be looking at the possibility that a 5th or 8th grade student’s STAAR scores may not be used to determine whether to promote the student. That has SSI implications.
- If the 2019-20 assessments are above grade level, you can’t use those assessment results to sanction schools or deny grade level promotion to students. After 2019-20 is murky.
- Has anyone run the Lexiles on STAAR Math? Science? Social Studies?
HB4242 passed second reading in the Texas House on May 7 and is scheduled for third reading and a final vote on May 8.
5/10/2019 Update: HB4242 passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Education Committee.
This situation is rapidly evolving so I’ll post updates as I can.