State Representative Ron Reynolds (Fort Bend County, District 27) filed HB 1056, which will provide school districts flexibility with state testing requirements and will shift away from the “high stakes” testing mandates.
“As I visit with parents, educators and business leaders in my district, I continually hear that we need to stop ‘teaching to the test’ and bring innovation and creativity back to the classroom,” remarked Rep. Reynolds. “I believe that we must hold schools accountable, but the emphasis being placed on testing has become disparaging. There is a growing movement to reform the state’s school accountability system and I look forward to working with my colleagues in addressing these much needed changes,” said Rep. Reynolds.
Schools are spending an average of 40-47 days per school year on state assessments and bench mark testing. Last year, schools began implementing the state’s new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) program for grades 3-12. In addition, high school students are now required to take and pass 15 End-of-Course exams. These test scores count as 15 percent of a student’s final grade for the course and are required for graduation.
Rep. Reynolds’ new legislation will reduce the number of days a school can spend on testing students to 10 percent of the school year, about 18 days. The bill will also reduce the number of End-of-Course exams from 15 to three. Lastly, the bill will give local control back to the school board by making the 15 percent End-of-Course exam requirement optional.