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Assessment/Accountability: EOCs and Middle School Students

House Bill 2135, enacted by the 81st Legislative Session (regular), is now law effective immediately.

Summary: 

This bill stipulates that a student in grades 5 or 8 who is enrolled in a course intended for students above the student’s grade level or for high school credit for which the student will be assessed through an assessment instrument aligned to the curriculum of the course or an end of course assessment is not required to be assessed using the grade 5 or 8 state assessment for the same subject.

Commentary:  This means is that students in grades 5 and 8 aren’t required to take both an EOC and STAAR grade level exam.  For right now, this means that students in grades 5 and 8 aren’t required to take both STAAR EOC and STAAR grade level tests in reading and mathematics when they are completing high school courses in those two subject areas.  TEA will need to clarify additional possible flexibility for above-grade level STAAR testing in its rulemaking process.

Impact:

Furthermore, a student who meets the criteria above may not be denied promotion on the basis of failure to perform satisfactorily on an assessment instrument not required to be administered to the student. 

Commentary:  This removes the Student Success Initiative promotion requirement (passing the reading and math portion of the state assessment) for students in grades 5 and 8 who are enrolled in higher level courses and taking the respective EOCs.

Caution:  If an 8th grade student is enrolled in Alg I and completes the course and takes the EOC, the student is not required to take the 8th grade STAAR Mathematics exam.  However, he or she is still required to take and pass the Reading portion of the 8th grade STAAR exam (assuming the student is not also enrolled in Eng I).

The House Bill states that the commissioner shall adopt rules necessary to ensure that the student’s performance on the assessment instrument is considered in the same manner as the performance of a student enrolled at the high school level.   The bill goes on to state that the performance of a student enrolled below the high school level on an assessment instrument required under Section 39.023(c) is included with the results relating to other students enrolled at the same grade level.  

Commentary: These rules will provide guidance on accountability implications for MS and HS ratings.  Since the bill only modifies statute where indicator measures are identified, and not the part of statute concerned with evaluation of the indicator measures for determining ratings, the Agency may have some room for interpretation on how and in what ways the data may be used relative to assigning ratings.

The commissioner may also award a distinction designation to a campus with a significant number of students below grade 9 who perform satisfactorily on an end-of-course assessment instrument.

Commentary:  As you recall, there are a series of “Distinction” designations that will replace Gold Performance Acknowledgements.  This bill suggests one possibility for the Commissioner to consider.

You may find the full text of the bill at:

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/pdf/HB02135F.pdf#navpanes=0

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2 Responses to “Assessment/Accountability: EOCs and Middle School Students”

  1. Omar Barnhart says:

    Please clarify if this only applies to students in grades 5 or 8 or if it applies to any student who is enrolled in a course in the subject intended for students above the student’s grade level.

  2. Ed Vara says:

    As the law is written, yes it speaks to the Student Success Initiative at grades 5 and 8. We believe that it is the intent of the bill that this applies to grades 6 and 7 as well. We are checking with TEA and are awaiting their response.

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