Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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June 20, 2013

State changes graduation requirements, retesting schedule easier

Corsicana — The changes from the Texas legislature on the requirements to graduate from high school has also changed the retesting schedule for the state.

Prior to the passage and governor’s signing of House Bill 5, students in Texas high schools were going to be required to pass 15 End of Course exams to graduate. This spring, the legislature changed that to five tests.

As a consequence, students who didn’t do well on one of those five tests will be given an opportunity to retake the tests, but only those tests.

Because the state is still in transition from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) to the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests, some juniors and seniors still have to pass the TAKS test to graduate, while freshmen and sophomores are focusing on the STAAR tests they need to complete.

The testing schedule for Corsicana students is as follows:

    • July 8, all day: EOC English I and EOC English III Writing, TAKS English Language Arts.

    • July 9, all day: EOC English I Reading, TAKS Math.

    • July 10, all day: EOC English II Writing, TAKS Science.

    • July 11, all day: EOC English II Reading, TAKS Social Studies.

    • July 15, 8 a.m. to noon: EOC Algebra I.

    • July 16, 8 a.m. to noon: EOC Biology.

Corsicana students who failed one of the core tests were notified by letter, according to Susan Johnson, spokeswoman for the Corsicana ISD.

The Texas Education Agency is still working out how some of the rules of HB 5 will work, but the retesting was an immediate priority.

“Students who have not yet passed either portion of the English I or English II End of Course exams can retest in July or December on the separate components they’ve not yet passed,” Culbertson said. “Then, beginning in the spring of 2014 they would retest on the combined exam.”

The English exams were broken down into separate reading and writing tests, but in the future those will be in one combined test.

The state and local school districts are hoping students won’t procrastinate in the hopes of getting an easier test.

“They can go ahead and get it out of the way, and also, the practice is good,” Culbertson said. “It’s a good instrument because the writing test is very different from what they had before. It’s a good diagnostic test to see what their strengths and weaknesses are.”

It’s also a good way to find out where students need help.

“The goal is to pass it but if they still need accelerated assistance it’s a good way to determine what they’re still lacking,” she said.

Students who took the Algebra II, geometry, English III, chemistry, physics, world geography tests and failed them won’t have to retake them since they aren’t going to be required for high school graduation, after all.

As well, under the previous rules, the students’ score on the End of Course exams counted as 15 percent of their final grade in that class. Now that doesn’t apply anymore, according to the TEA.

“Whenever the state revises its graduation plans and assessment requirements, many high school students get caught in the transition,” said Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams. “The Texas Education Agency is working to make that transition a smooth one for those already in the pipeline, while also balancing fairness to those students who have successfully completed components of the current system.”

—————

Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

 

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