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Policy

Analysis

Final Analysis of House Bill 5 (HB 5): Relating to public school accountability, including assessment, and curriculum requirements. Patricia D. Lpez, Ph.D. and Angela Valenzuela, Ph.D. June 3, 2013 Introduction The final passage of House Bill 5 (HB 5) significantly modifies the Texas Education Code regarding student assessment, curriculum and graduation requirements, and campus and district accountability. This brief reflects the Texas Center for Education Policys prolonged engagement with the states transition to the State of Texas Assessments for Academic Readiness (STAAR) system (see Lpez, 2012), and over a decade of work on Texas-style accountability and assessment, generally (see Valenzuela, 2004). To begin, TCEP acknowledges HB 5s reduction in the number of tests that students must now complete to graduate. While that change is noteworthy, it does not fully address the research-based criticisms on the detriments of high-stakes testing in Texassuch as student and teacher push-out (McNeil et al., 2008), curricular tracking (Valenzuela, 1999), reduced student learning (Sloan, 2004), student retention (Valencia & Villarreal, 2004), the denial of a high school diploma (Valenzuela, 1999; GI Forum v TEA, 2000), and diminishing access to college (Cabrera, Lpez, & Senz, 2012)all of which are most severe for poor, minority, and emerging bilingual students (Valenzuela, 2000; USA and LULAC GI-Forum v. Texas, 2008). That said, we hope HB 5 will initiate a process for greater advancements in holistic, multiple-criteria assessments for students (see Valenzuela, 2002) that mirror the considerations afforded to both schools and districts as outlined in the 2009 passage of House Bill 3 (see Lpez, 2009) and augmented in HB 5 (Sec. 39.0545).

On the issue of curriculum, we recognize ongoing attempts to dismantle the 4x4, college-ready expectations that the state put in place during the 2007 legislative session. As our research shows, the tracking agenda persists, primarily among select political actors who continue to claim college is not for everyone (Lpez, 2012). That sentiment is expressed in HB 5 by making the Top Ten Percent eligible, Distinguished diploma plan optional, rather than the default. With the help of legislators, advocates were successful in adding multiple safeguards and reporting mechanisms that make it harder for schools and districts to funnel students off of the Distinguished diploma plan and college eligibility, as this brief will outline. This brief will further demonstrate how the endorsement language codified into HB 5 is nothing more than a fancy title for flexible course options that were already offered in statute. By informing students and parents on their increased statutory rights towards gaining college knowledge, college preparedness, and Top Ten percent eligibility, it is our hope that this brief will be the first of many resources that help to inform students, parents, and various communities, alike, on the changes made by HB 5.

Copyright 2013 by the Texas Center for Education Policy

Student Assessment In response to overwhelming criticism to Texas use of high-stakes testing, legislators have scaled back the number of high-stakes, end-of-course (EOC) exams required for graduation from fifteen to five. As outlined in the final iteration of HB 5, students will now be required to pass EOC exams in the following five subjects: English language arts I (ELA I); English language arts II (ELA II); Algebra I; Biology; and U.S. History (Sec. 39.0232). As mandated in HB 5, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) shall find a method for combining reading and writing for English language arts into one, comprehensive exam (Sec. 39.0232). House Bill 5 has completely removed the minimum and cumulative passing score standards, as well as language that required EOC performances to define 15 percent of a students final course grade (i.e., the 15 percent rule"). Students must now pass the five EOC exams required for graduation at the Level II Satisfactory passing standard set by TEA. Advocates were successful in adding safeguards, such as prohibiting districts from using a students performance on an EOC assessment for the following purposes: (1) To determine class rank, including entitlement to automatic admissions; (2) As a sole criterion in the determination whether to admit a student to a general academic teaching institution in the state (Sec. 39.0232 (b1-b2)). While HB 5 is explicit in stating that state EOC exams cannot be used as a sole criterion for public college and university admissions, the bill does not prohibit a general academic teaching institution from implementing an admission policy that takes into consideration a students performance on an EOC assessment instrument in addition to other criteria. For those students who do not perform satisfactorily on an EOC exam, districts are required to provide Accelerated Instruction (Sec. 28.0217). Accelerated instruction may be offered before or after normal school hours, and times outside of the normal school year (e.g., summer school). As outlined in HB 5, school districts may choose to administer diagnostic tests in Algebra II and English language arts III (Sec. 39.0238). The state does not mandate, nor do they cover the costs, to administer these two optional assessments. For those districts that

Copyright 2013 by the Texas Center for Education Policy

choose to administer the Algebra II and English III diagnostic assessments, TEA will require them to report the administration of Algebra II and English III diagnostic exams relative to students enrolled in the course, including applied Algebra II courses. House Bill 5 further prohibits districts that choose to administer the Algebra II and English III diagnostic exams from using the results for the following purposes: (1) For school or district accountability purposes; (2) By a school for the purposes of: a. teacher evaluations; b. determining a students final course grade; or c. determining a students class rank for the purpose of high school graduation; (3) By an institution of higher education for the purposes of: a. admissions; or b. to determine eligibility for TEXAS grant (Sec. 39.0238 (f)). It is important for parents and communities to be clear that there is no mandate in HB 5 that requires districts to administer the two diagnostic exams. Rather, this is a locally-based decision that involves local school boards, district leaders, and ideally, parents and communities. Parents whose children attend districts that choose to administer the two diagnostic exams should ensure that district leaders do not use results for graduation. Finally, HB 5 responds to the historical influence that monied interests have had on education policy in Texas (see, for example, McNeil, 2000; Rapoport, 2011; Lpez, 2012) by restricting certain individuals from being appointed to, or serving on advisory committees (Sec. 39.038). Specifically, statute now states that: The commissioner may not appoint a person to a committee or panel that advises the commissioner or agency regarding state accountability systems under this title or the content or administration of an assessment instrument if the person is retained or employed by an assessment instrument vendor (Sec. 39.038). In the same vein, HB 5 also prohibits certain contractors hired to develop or implement assessment instruments (see Section 39.023) from making political contributions or taking part, either directly or indirectly, in a campaign of any person seeking election to or currently serving on the State Board of Education (SBOE) (Sec. 39.039).

Copyright 2013 by the Texas Center for Education Policy

Curriculum Changes in HB 5 replace the current diploma plansi.e., Minimum, Recommended, and Distinguishedwith the following plans: Foundation, Foundation plus Endorsement, and Distinguished (Sec. 28.025; also see Figure 1). House Bill 5 now sets the Foundation plus Endorsement program as the default high school diploma plan that all students are placed on when entering high school. Similar to the current, Recommended High School Plan, the Foundation plus Endorsement diploma requires students to complete a total of 26 credits (Sec. 28.025). Under the default plan, in addition to completing the same credits for the Foundation diploma, students must obtain an endorsement in one of the following areas: science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); business and industry; public service; arts and humanities; or multidisciplinary studies (Sec. 28.025). Each endorsement will require a minimum of one additional credit of advanced courses in math and science, respectively, as determined by the SBOE (Sec. 28.025). Students must also complete two additional elective courses under this diploma plan. School districts are required to ensure that each student entering the ninth grade indicates, in writing, an endorsement that the student intends to earn (Sec. 28.025 (b)). A district must permit students, at any time, to change their initial endorsement selection. All students completing the Foundation plus Endorsement diploma will be eligible for TEXAS Grant financial aid. Unless students self-select and complete Algebra II as a satisfying math course, they will not be eligible for Top 10 percent admissions. Students and parents must be clear that only the successful completion of Algebra II and obtaining the Distinguished diploma (Sec. 28.025 (b-15)) leaves students eligible for Top 10 percent admissions (Sec. 51.803). As mandated by HB 5, the SBOE shall require that each district make an Algebra II course available to each high school student in the district (Sec. 28.002). This addition to statute seeks to address issues of capacity and ensure that completing the Distinguished diploma is both an option and accessible to all students, rather than just a select few.

Copyright 2013 by the Texas Center for Education Policy

The Foundation program requires students to complete 22 total creditsfour credits in English language arts, and three credits each in math, science, and social studies (see Figure 1). Advanced courses in math and science that allow students to fulfill the Foundation and/or endorsement requirements can be developed by the SBOE or locally. In terms of the latter option, HB 5 allows local boards of trustees to approve that a district offer a course, training hours, or apprenticeship options needed to obtain an industry-recognized credential or certificate without SBOE approval if: (1) A district partners with a public or private institution of higher education and local business, labor, and community leaders to develop and provide the course; and (2) The course allows students to enter: a. a state career or technology training program; b. an institution of higher education without remediation; c. an apprenticeship training program; or d. an internship required as part of an accreditation towards an industry- recognized credential or certification. House Bill 5 further requires each district to report the names of courses, programs, internships, and partnering entities to TEA and make this information available to the public. This data seeks to inform communities on variations in accessibility of accredited courses that expand students opportunities during and beyond high school. Together with special investigation reporting mechanisms (Sec. 39057), discussed in the subsequent section, HB 5 requires TEA to publically disclose patterns of student tracking. However, for students to benefit from these added safety nets, state and district leadership must collect and respond to that data in a positive, rather than punitive, manner. By this we mean that data should identify needs and respond with a relative infusion of resources, experienced people, and assistance. Responses should not induce fear or incite threats of school closure that fragment, rather than unite, people. In extraordinary situations, students and their parents can elect to graduate under the Foundation high school program without earning an endorsement. Statute does not allow schools to track into the Foundation program without an endorsement unless the following criteria are met following a students sophomore (10th grade) year:
Copyright 2013 by the Texas Center for Education Policy

(1) The student and the students parent are advised by a school counselor of the specific benefits of graduating from high school with one or more endorsements; and (2) The students parent files a form, adopted by agency, to the school counselor, allowing the student to graduate without an endorsement (Sec. 28.025 (b1-b2)). Students completing the Foundation program will be eligible to apply for TEXAS Grant financial aid. In a further attempt to address potential curricular tracking, HB 5 states that a school district may not prevent a student or parent from confirming a graduation plan that includes pursuit of a distinguished diploma or an endorsement (Sec. 28.02121). Statute also now requires districts to ensure that all students complete a personal graduation plan where they identify a course of study that promotes college and workforce readiness, career placement and advancement, and facilitates the students transition from secondary to postsecondary education (Sec. 28.02121). With the help of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), information explaining the advantages of the Distinguished diploma plan (i.e., Sec. 28.025 [b-15]) and endorsement plans (i.e., Sec. 28.025[c-1]) to students and parents must: (1) Discuss the benefits of choosing a high school graduation plan that includes the Distinguished diploma plan and one or more endorsements to enable the student to achieve a class rank in the top 10 percent; and (2) Encourage parents to choose a high school plan described in (1) above. While students can amend their initial personal graduation plans, doing so requires schools to send written notice to the students parents regarding the change (Sec. 28.02121). Finally, HB 5 makes added attempts to bridge public and higher education institutions and curriculum by requiring districts to partner with an institution of higher education to develop math and English language arts course options (Sec. 28.014). Such courses must be designed for students at the 12th grade level whose performance on an EOC does not meet college readiness standards, or for those students whose college entrance exam (e.g., SAT, ACT, etc.) indicates they are not ready to perform entry-level college coursework. These courses must be taught on high school campuses, through

Copyright 2013 by the Texas Center for Education Policy

distance learning, or as an online course provided through a partnering institution of higher education. Finally, courses under this section must be taught by appropriate faculty, where public and higher education educators meet regularly to ensure that courses are aligned with college readiness expectations. Each district must provide notice to students and parents regarding the benefits of enrolling in one of these courses (Sec. 28.014). Figure 1: High School Diploma Programs and Course Requirements as outlined in HB 5 Foundation Foundation plus Endorsement English I, II, III, English I, II, III, advanced fourth course English language advanced fourth course arts (ELA) Algebra I, Geometry, advanced Algebra I, Geometry, advanced third Math third course and fourth course** Biology, Integrated Biology, Integrated Physics/Chemistry Science Physics/Chemistry or advanced or advanced second course, and third-year course advanced third and fourth course World History, US History, World History, US History, Government Social Studies Government (.5), and Economics (.5), and Economics (.5) (.5) N/A One (1) credit advanced math* Endorsement One (1) credit advanced science* Five (5) Seven (7) Electives One ( 1) c redit f ine a rts; One (1) credit fine arts; Other Two (2) credits in the same Two (2) credits in the same language in language in a language other than a language other than English; English; One (1) credit P.E. One (1) credit P.E. ELA (4) ELA (4) TOTAL Math (3) Math (4) Core Courses Science (3) Science (4) Social studies (3) Social studies (3) 22 26 TOTAL Credits
*Students seeking to obtain the Distinguished high school diploma and/or an Endorsement may satisfy required elective credit(s) with credit(s) earned to satisfy additional foundation or endorsement courses (Sec. 28.025 (b-16)). **Students seeking to obtain the Distinguished diploma must complete Algebra II, which subsequently leaves them eligible for Top 10% admissions.

Copyright 2013 by the Texas Center for Education Policy

School and District Accountability Changes to school and district accountability, as outlined in House Bill 5, will result in evaluation based on the following three measures: (1) student test scores; (2) financial efficiency; and (3) community engagement (Sec. 39.0545). Rather than leave the process for developing accountability indicators in the hands of the TEA Commissioner, HB 5 has prescribed the states next era of performance measures. House Bill 5 maintains the long- standing use of student test scores in rating schools and districts, and adds the community engagement indicator that will be based on the following performance measures: (1) Fine arts; (2) Wellness and physical education; (3) Community and parental involvement; (4) The 21st Century Workforce Development program; (5) Second language acquisition program; (6) Digital learning environment; (7) Dropout prevention strategies; and (8) Educational programs for gifted and talented students (Sec. 39.0545 (b)). School districts will use criteria developed by a local committee to evaluate the performance of the district s campus programs and eight (8) community engagement performance measures. Finally, each school district will be rated on its anticipated future solvency, that includes analysis of district and school revenues and expenditures for preceding school years, to be developed by the TEA Commissioner and Comptroller (Sec. 39.082 (a-3)). The performances of schools, based on the abovementioned measures, will be labeled using one of the following ratings: exemplary, recognized, or unacceptable (Sec. 39.054). In evaluating districts, HB 5 requires the TEA Commissioner to adopt rules and criteria for an A-F District Accountability Rating system, where performances are rated based on the following letter grades: A, B, C, D or F (Sec. 39.054). A district may not receive a performance rating of A if the district includes any individual campus rated as unacceptable (Sec. 39.054).

Copyright 2013 by the Texas Center for Education Policy

House Bill 5 will also develop Academic Distinction Designations (i.e., gold stars) focused on measuring outstanding performance in reaching postsecondary readiness based on the following areas: (A) Percentage of students earning a nationally or internationally recognized business or industry certification of license; (B) Percentage of students completing a coherent sequence of career and technology courses; (C) Percentage of students completing dual credit courses; (D) Percentage of students who achieved applicable college readiness benchmarks (e.g., PSAT, SAT, ACT, or ACT-Plan); and (E) Percentage of students earning AP and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) credit by exam ( 39.2022 (a-e)). Campus distinctions will further be rated based on improvement in student achievement and outstanding performance in closing achievement gaps (Sec. 39.203). House Bill 5 removes performance in fine arts, physical education, 21st century workforce development programs, and second language acquisition programs as distinction measures for campuses. In terms of new reporting, school districts will now be required to report their performance in the following areas: (A) Percentage of students graduating on the Foundation high school program; (B) Percentage of students graduation on the Distinguished diploma plan; (C) Percentage of students earning each endorsement (Sec. Sec. 39.301); (D) The availability of endorsements and the courses offered towards obtaining an endorsement (Sec. 39.332(b)). The following are new reporting requirements for campuses: (A) Number of studentsdisaggregated by major student populationswho take courses under the foundation program; and (B) Number of students disaggregated by major student populationswho take additional courses towards earning an endorsement (Sec. 39.301). As outlined in HB 5, the TEA will develop and maintain a Texas School Accountability Dashboarda separate, public access website that consists of accountability information for each district and campus based on a performance index comprised of the following: (1) Student achievement; (2) Student progress;
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(3) Closing performance gaps; and (4) Postsecondary readiness (Sec. 39.209). The Texas School Accountability Dashboard must also provide comparison data across districts and schools that will include, but are not limited to, the following: (A) Number of students enrolled; (B) Percentage of students categorized as limited English proficient (LEP); (C) Percentage of students categorized as unschooled asylees (see Sec. 39.027 (a-1)); (D) Percentage of students categorized as economically disadvantaged; (E) Percentage of students with disabilities; (F) Student enrollment in special programs, disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and special populations (Sec. 39.209).

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References Cabrera, N., Lpez, P.D. & Senz, V.B. (2012). Ganas: From the Individual to the Community, and the Potential for Improving College Readiness in the Land that Texas Forgot. Journal of Latinos and Education, 11(4), 232-246. GI Forum et al. v. Texas Education Agency et al., 87 F. Supp.2d 667 (W.D. Tex. 2000). House Bill 5 (2013). Retrieved from: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/pdf/HB00005F.pdf#navpanes =0 Lpez, P.D. (2009, March). Public School Accountability, Curriculum, and Promotion: Bill Analysis of House Bill 3, invited testimony on House Bill 3 before the House Committee on Public Education, March 17, 2009. Lpez, P.D. (2012). The process of becoming: The political construction of Texas lone STAAR system of accountability and college readiness. University of Texas at Austin: Dissertation. McNeil, L.M. (2000). Contradictions of school reform: Educational costs of standardized testing. New York: Routledge. McNeil, L. M., Coppola, E., Radigan, J., & Vasquez Heilig, J. (2008). Avoidable losses: High-stakes accountability and the dropout crisis. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 16(3). Nichols, S.L, Glass, G.V. & Berliner, D.C. (2006b), High-Stakes Testing and Student Achievement: Does Accountability Pressure Increase Student Learning? Education Policy Analysis Archives, 14(1), 1-172. Rapoport, A. (2011, September 6). Education Inc.: How private companies are profiting from Texas public schools. Texas Observer. Retrieved from: http://www.texasobserver.org/cover-story/the-pearson-graduate Sloan, K. (2004). Playing to the logic of the Texas accountability system: How focusing on ratingsnot children undermines quality and equity. In A. Valenzuela (Ed.), Leaving children behind: How Texas-style accountability fails Latino youth, (pp. 153- 178). Albany: State University of New York Press. United States of America and LULAC GI-Forum v. State of Texas (USA and LULAC GI- Forum v. Texas), No. 71-CV-5281-WWJ (District Court for the Eastern District of Texas July 24, 2008), Retrieved from http://www.maldef.org/news/press.cfm?ID=468&FromIndex=yes Valencia, R. & Villarreal, B. (2004). Texas Second Wave of High-Stakes Testing: Anti-Social Promotion Legislation, Grade Retention, and Adverse Impact on Minorities. In A. Valenzuela (Ed.), Leaving Children Behind: How Texas-Style Accountability Fails Latino Youth, (pp. 113-152). New York: State University of New York Press. Valenzuela, A. (1999). Subtractive schooling: U.S.-Mexican youth and the politics of caring.
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Albany: State University of New York Press. Valenzuela, A. (2002). High-stakes testing and U.S. American youth in Texas: The case for multiple compensatory criteria in assessment. Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy, 14, 97-116. Valenzuela, A. (2000, November). The Significance of the TAAS Test for Mexican Immigrant and Mexican American Adolescents: A Case Study. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 22(4), 524-539. Valenzuela, A. (2004). Leaving children behind: How Texas-style accountability fails Latino youth. New York: State University of New York (SUNY) Press.
Texas Center for Education Policy (TCEP) is committed to research on equity and excellence in PK-16 education. TCEP promotes interdisciplinary and collaborative research, analysis, and dissemination of information to impact the development of educational policy by bringing together university entities in partnership with local, state, national, and international education communities. http://www.edb.utexas.edu/tcep For information contact Patricia D. Lpez, at pdlopez@austin.utexas.edu Copyright 2013 by the Texas Center for Education Policy

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