banner

Texas Education Agency HB5 Overview- Jul. 23, 2014

The Texas Education Agency has released a new brochure related to implementation of the Foundation High School Program and HB5. The brocuhure acts as a toolkit on HB5 and includes important information on understanding new rule changes and planning for High School and beyond under new HB5 rules.

To view the brochure, please visit the TEA's website at: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/communications/grad_toolkit/booklet.pdf

Parent Scoop:  Click on the HB5 link to view a HB5 toolkit developed by TEA.

 


 

Moak, Casey & ASsociates Update - Jul. 2, 2014

AUSTIN – The State Board of Education took action at the end of Janurary, 2014, to adopt new rules to implement the Foundation high school program per HB5. TEA staff posted a working document to its webs tie soon thereafter to assist districts with planning. Actual final rule language was filed recently with the Texas Register for publication on July 4, with an effective date of July  8, 2014. The final rule language can be accessed from the link provided on TEA's web site at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=2206.

Parent Scoop: HB5 rules have been finalized.  

 


 

Austin ISD Update - Mar. 7, 2014

AUSTIN – Yesterday, the Texas Education Agency announced the U.S. Department of Education will not grant the state’s waiver request to address the issue of multiple assessments for students taking Algebra I at the middle school level.

TEA Commissioner of Education Michael Williams is discouraging local school districts and charters from double-testing middle school students taking Algebra I. However, the commissioner noted the decision about whether to administer multiple assessments is ultimately a local one.

The Austin Independent School District will follow the Commissioner of Education’s recommendation and test middle school Algebra I students only on the Algebra I end-of-course assessment.

“The waiver request was submitted because I do not believe that double testing middle school students is instructionally appropriate nor a valid evaluation of mathematics for Texas middle schools and high schools,” Commissioner Williams said in yesterday’s press release.

Eighth grade mathematics testing in Texas is scheduled to begin on April 1.

For more information, please visit the TEA’s website to read the press release at: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/news_release.aspx?id=25769809892 .

Parent Scoop: Austin ISD 8th grade students taking Algebra I will only take one mathematics end-of-year state assessment.  

 


 

Texas Education Agency Update - Mar. 6, 2014

AUSTIN – The U.S. Department of Education has advised the Texas Education Agency that the state’s waiver request to address the issue of multiple assessments for students taking Algebra I at the middle school level will not be granted.

In spite of this federal decision, Commissioner of Education Michael Williams is discouraging local school districts and charters from double-testing middle school students taking Algebra I. However, the Commissioner noted the decision about whether to administer multiple assessments is ultimately a local one. Eighth grade mathematics testing in Texas is scheduled to begin on April 1.

“The waiver request was submitted because I do not believe that double testing middle school students is instructionally appropriate nor a valid evaluation of mathematics for Texas middle schools and high schools,” said Commissioner Williams. “Given state and federal testing requirements, federal denial of our amendment request, and the Texas Legislature’s decision to reduce end-of-course testing to one high school mathematics assessment, I am eliminating any perceived incentives a district might have had for double testing students for accountability purposes.”

The Commissioner has formally notified all Texas school districts and charters that for 2014 and 2015 state and federal accountability, if a student takes the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) Algebra I end-of-course assessment and a STAAR mathematics grade level assessment, only the results of the Algebra I assessment will be included in the accountability calculations for the campus and the district where the student tested. Although taken while in middle school, the Algebra I EOC would count toward a student’s high school graduation requirements under House Bill 5.

Commissioner Williams acknowledged his primary concern remains that some school districts may make poor instructional decisions regarding accelerated students.  For example, to avoid the dilemma of having these students’ scores attributed to a middle school campus (instead of the high school campus), some districts might reconsider offering Algebra I at the middle school level. 

“Such a move would seriously disadvantage students who move quickly through the mathematics curriculum in grades K-8 and would benefit from taking advanced coursework in middle school,” said Commissioner Williams. “Should a Texas district or charter elect to make such a move, this stalls students’ academic progress and provides them with one less opportunity to take an advanced mathematics course or another relevant upper-division course in high school.”

Given his concern, Commissioner Williams said the Texas Education Agency will be analyzing course completion data submitted by school districts to ensure that enrollment in Algebra I by middle school students does not precipitously decline beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.  Based on this annual analysis, some school districts may be contacted to explain reductions in Algebra I enrollments by middle school students.

Current federal accountability requirements call for students to have a mathematics score every year in grades 3–8, as well as a mathematics score in high school. The federal government requires states that offer only one mathematics assessment at the high school level (which can also be taken by middle school students) to ensure there is a separate mathematics result that can be attributed to a high school. 

Late last year, Commissioner Williams advised the U.S. Department of Education that Texas would be seeking to amend its conditional waiver of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) provisions. In its communications with the agency, U.S. Department of Education officials informed the Texas Education Agency that similar waiver requests from other states have not been approved.

Parent Scoop: Commissioner Williams stated that the decision to administer multiple assessments for student taking Algebra I is ultimately a school district one.

 


  

Texas Education Agency HB5 Overview- Feb. 12, 2014

A PowerPoint presentation posted on the HB 5 webpage provides the latest details of the new Foundation High School Program.

Parent Scoop:  Click on the HB5 link for more information about specific graduation requirements and endorsement information from the Texas Education Agency.

 


 

Texas Education Agency Update - Jan. 31, 2014

AUSTIN - The State Board of Education gave final approval today to the state’s new high school graduation program, which gives students added flexibility to follow their academic interests.

The Texas Legislature last year created the new 22-credit Foundation High School Program, which allows students to earn performance acknowledgments and four-credit endorsements in specific subjects but left decisions about many details of the plan to the State Board.

Over the course of this week, the board considered 34 amendments to the graduation plan and approved most. 

Math debates captured much of the attention 

Under the state law, students following the Foundation High School Program must earn three credits of math that include Algebra I and Geometry as well as a third course.  Students may select the third course from a long list of mathematics courses. The board expanded the options further by directing the development of two new courses called Algebraic Reasoning and Statistics and Risk Management.  The two new courses are expected to be available for districts to offer beginning in the 2015-2016 school year.

Students who want to earn the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) endorsement must take Algebra II, chemistry and physics as well as four additional courses in the STEM area.

Students who hope to gain automatic admission to the state’s public universities under the top 10 percent rule also must meet requirements that include earning credit for Algebra II or meeting performance requirements on a college readiness assessment.

Under the new graduation plan, speech satisfied by a Communications Applications class will no longer be a required credit for all students. However, districts will be required to ensure that students learn key communications skills such as delivering clear verbal messages and choosing effective nonverbal behaviors.   Districts may incorporate these skills into an existing class, such as English, or continue to require a separate communications class.

The Communications Applications class had been a Texas graduation requirement since the mid-1990s.

Many key changes approved this week clarified the courses students must take to earn an endorsement in STEM, Business and Industry, Public Services, Arts and Humanities or Multidisciplinary Studies. Numerous course combinations can be used to earn these endorsements.

The board:

  •  Clarified that students must take a coherent sequence of four credits from one or two disciplines (art, music, theater or dance) to earn an Arts and Humanities endorsement and may not earn the endorsement simply by taking introductory courses.
  • Agreed that students would earn a Public Services endorsement, rather than a STEM endorsement, if they complete a coherent sequence of courses in health sciences.
  • Added computer science courses as a route to obtain a STEM endorsement, while other technology applications courses, such as web communications, 3-D Modeling and Animation and Digital Video and Audio and Design, would apply to a Business and Industry endorsement.
  • Added advanced journalism courses in newspaper and yearbook as options for earning a Business and Industry endorsement. Additionally, students wishing to take classes such as Communications Applications, creative writing or literary genre can earn an Arts and Humanities endorsement.

 Under the new graduation program, students may earn performance acknowledgments by demonstrating outstanding performance. One way to earn an acknowledgment is by earning a score of 3 or higher on an Advanced Placement test or a score of 4 or higher on an International Baccalaureate examination. Originally, the board set the higher score requirements but adjusted those standards after listening to public comments. 

Students currently in the 8th grade – the class of 2018- will be the first group required to graduate under the Foundation High School Program. 

Current high school students remain under the previous three graduation plans – the Minimum High School Program, the Recommended High School Program and the Distinguished Achievement Program. However, these students may opt to move to the Foundation Program. 

All the amendments approved by the board this week will be incorporated and the final program, as approved by the board, will be posted on the Texas Education Agency’s website in approximately two weeks.

Parent Scoop: The State Board of Education finalized graduation requirements.  Browse our website for more information on specifics.

 


 

Texas Education Agency Update - Dec. 17, 2013

AUSTIN- Under draft rules given preliminary approval by the State Board of Education in November, speech will no longer be a course required for graduation under the Foundation High School Program and only one endorsement will specifically require students to take Algebra II to complete their graduation requirements.

The board is updating graduation requirements because of changes made by HB 5, a sweeping law approved by the Texas Legislature this spring. That law creates a 22-credit Foundation High School Program with endorsements and performance acknowledgments.

Sen. Dan Patrick and Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, the chairmen of the legislative education committees, made an appearance before the board members to ask them to preserve as much flexibility as possible when crafting the rules.

In the initial draft of the rules, all five endorsement areas required students to take Algebra II.

That course is required under the two current graduation programs that include the 4x4 requirements.

After listening to testimony from 67 witnesses and receiving letters and emails from many others both for and against requiring Algebra II, the board voted to eliminate Algebra II as a specific requirement for the public services, arts and humanities, business and industry, and multidisciplinary studies endorsements. Students pursing those endorsements will be permitted to select the fourth math credit course from two lists of mathematics courses.

The board continued to specifically require Algebra II under the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) endorsement.

However, students who hope to be ranked in the top 10 percent of their graduating class and qualify for automatic admission into a Texas public university, must earn a distinguished level of achievement, according to the new law. The distinguished level of achievement requires students to take a total of four credits of math, including Algebra II, a total of four credits of science, and complete the requirements for at least one endorsement.

The board approved a number of additional amendments to the graduation program in November. The draft rule that reflects all the changes will be posted in the Texas Register on Dec. 20. Once posted there, the formal public comment period will begin. 

Final approval of the new graduation requirements is expected to occur at the SBOE’s Jan. 28-31 meeting.

 


 

AISD Update - Dec. 16, 2013

On December 16, AISD’s Board of Trustees voted to establish the Distinguished Level of Achievement as the district's prescribed graduation plan beginning with the Class of 2018. The trustees also approved the requirement of one credit of physical education and one half credit of health to meet graduation requirements for all plans beginning with the Class of 2018.

DISCIPLINEDISTINGUISHED LEVEL OF ACHIEVEMENT
English Language Arts4 credits
Mathematics4 credits (one of 4 credits must be Algebra II)
Science4 credits (one of 4 credits must be an advanced science)
Social Studies3 credits
Languages Other Than English2 credits in the same language
Physical Education1 credit
Health0.5 credit
Fine Arts1 credit
Electives6.5 credits
TOTAL CREDITS REQUIRED26 CREDITS

Learn more about Foundation Level and Foundation + Endorsement graduation plans.