AUSTIN - Texas children could get some relief from having to take so many standardized tests and the weight those tests carry could decrease if bills passed by the Texas House of Representatives Thursday become law.
The House of Representatives passed House Bill 22 (HB22) on final vote Thursday. The bill revises the unpopular A-F rating system for schools and districts that was passed by the legislature last session.
That system isn't set to go into effect until 2018, but the Texas Education Agency was required to release ratings this year so school leaders could see how it will work.
Under HB22 standardized testing plays less of a factor in the rating, the number of ratings that can be given is decreased from five to three, the system won't go into effect until 2019 and campuses and districts won't get overall ratings.
Representatives also passed House Bill 515 (HB515). It reduces the number of standardized tests students have to take by eliminating all "high stakes" testing for students in the eighth grade on down.
Currently those tests determine whether a student advances to the next grade. The bill's author, former teacher and New Boston ISD Superintendent Representative Gary VanDeaver (R-New Boston), says teachers should have the freedom to teach instead of having to teach to a test. VanDeaver also says children shouldn't have that type of pressure.
"We've heard the stories of third graders throwing up the day before the test because they were just physically ill. This eliminates that pressure on those students," said VanDeaver.
Under HB 515, elementary and middle school students will still take tests in certain subjects, those test just won't determine if they move to the next grade. The tests will be given two months later than they are now so kids have more time to learn and there won't be any re-tests.
There's also some changes for older students. An amendment to the bill eliminates the social studies test and replaces it with a civics test.
Both of those bills are now headed to the Senate.
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