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Bill on testing passes House, signals disenchantment with state exams




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April 23, 2015 | 2,986 views | Post a comment

Louis Malfaro, president of the 65,000-member Texas branch of the American Federation of Teachers, commented today on House passage of SB 149:

Texas AFT applauds passage today by the Texas House of SB 149, a bill to reduce the excessive and counterproductive emphasis on standardized state tests in our public schools. This legislation by Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo), carried in the House by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Humble), will allow students to bypass high-stakes end-of-course exams by demonstrating their subject-matter proficiency in other ways approved by an individual graduation committee.

This bill as passed in the House would let a committee made up of the student’s teacher, parent, principal, and department chair decide if a student who has passed a course but has not passed the corresponding state end-of-course exam can graduate by satisfying other rigorous criteria. The committee must agree unanimously in order for the student to graduate by this alternative route. The bill could help some 28,000 seniors this year who have not yet passed all five end-of-course exams required for graduation. The bypass would be available for up to two of the five exams.

The overwhelming support for this legislation today shows just how much lawmakers have rightly become disenchanted with standardized testing.

Legitimate concerns about the validity and reliability of standardized state tests for high-stakes decisions also apply to the misuse of such testing to rate schools, evaluate teachers' performance, and set teachers' pay.

Texas AFT represents more than 65,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.6-million-member American Federation of Teachers.
 
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