5 Million Reasons for Less Testing and Smarter Accountability

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Texas public schools educate 5 million students. These students need meaningful coursework, not endless exams. Support an accountability system that emphasizes actual learning, not “teaching to the …

Texas public schools educate 5 million students. These students need meaningful coursework, not endless exams. Support an accountability system that emphasizes actual learning, not “teaching to the test.”

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  • 1. WHO EDUCATES 5 MILLION TEXAS STUDENTS? Texas public schools educate 5 million students. 91% These students need meaningful coursework, not endless exams. PUBLIC Support an accountability system that emphasizes actual learning, SCHOOLS not “teaching to the test.” Private Schools 6% Public Charters 3% Reduce High-Stakes Testing Texas’ efforts to create a standards-based accountability system PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRIVATE SCHOOLS PUBLIC CHARTERS have resulted over time in a test-based accountability system that 4,823,842 313,360 154,278 overemphasizes testing to the exclusion of other important measures of student achievement. Texas currently requires 15 end of course (EOC) exams for graduation, Create A More Meaningful Accountability System far more than any other state that uses EOCs as a graduation The Texas Education Agency, with input from stakeholders, is requirement (5 exams or fewer is typical). This does not include currently in the process of developing a new accountability system interim assessments administered throughout the year to prepare for Texas public schools. Raise Your Hand Texas hopes to see changes students for STAAR exams. made that will address many of the shortcomings in the current This overemphasis on testing shows up in the classroom. accountability system, including: Teachers focus on teaching to the test – administering exercises • Eliminate “death by cell.” Currently, districts and campuses that match the format and content of the STAAR exam – to the must meet 25 separate assessment measures, and could receive an exclusion of other educational goals. Academically Unacceptable rating if they fail to meet one measure for one subgroup. This policy does not present an accurate and complete picture of student achievement. States Currently Requiring EOC Exams for Graduation, and the Number of EOC Exams Students Must Pass to Graduate • Align accountability standards and reporting. Districts and campuses are confronted with a confusing array of state and federal Arkansas 2 Mississippi 4 Oklahoma 4 accountability standards (often referred to as “trip wires”). These Florida 3 New York 5 TEXAS 15 include state and federal accountability ratings under the Public Indiana 2 Maryland 4 Virginia 6 Education Grants program, federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Louisiana 3 Massachusetts 1 and the state accountability system – all released at different times of year. The result has been undue complexity for Source: Education Commission of the States, Report on End of Course Exams administrators and confusion for the public. TAKE ACTION Here’s what the Texas legislature can do to keep public schools strong: TESTING Raise Your Hand Texas will monitor these developments and any • Give local districts permanent flexibility on the 15% legislation affecting the state accountability system. Proposals to requirement. improve the accountability system should: • Reduce the total number of End of Course exams, and the • Consider a variety of measures in arriving at an accountability number of exams that students must pass to graduate. rating, including student progress, while not making rating dependent on a single measure; • Expedite action by the Commissioner to implement rules to allow AP/IB exams and the Dual Credit course completion • Consider factors other than performance on state assessments, to satisfy EOC requirement in that subject. including AP/IB and dual credit participation, graduation rates, CTE participation and similar measures of student achievement; ACCOUNTABILITY • Provide meaningful performance results the public can Raise Your Hand Texas is encouraged by the work being done by readily access and understand; and the Texas Education Agency and stakeholders to make significant • Simplify and align standards and reporting under the state and changes to the state accountability system. federal accountability systems.TESTING & LEGISLATIVE ADVERTISING PAID FOR BY: David Anthony, CEO, Raise Your Hand Texas 3200 Southwest Freeway, Suite 2070 | Houston, TX 77027ACCOUNTABILITY P 713.993.7667 | F 713.993.7691 | www.RaiseYourHandTexas.org