Texas looks into more tailored high school education

Members of the House of Representatives passed House Bill 5 on Tuesday which reduces the number of standardized tests high school students must take from 15 down to five, while also allowing for a more personalized education based on the student’s preferences û something representatives believe will assist graduates in the transition from high school to the workforce or college.

“House Bill 5 would provide flexibility for teachers to help students better develop their talents and pursue their interests, so they can succeed in the workplace or in college immediately after they graduate from high school,” Rep. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg) said to the Edinburg Review.

The five end-of-course tests that would be required by House Bill 5 are algebra, U.S. history, biology, and reading and writing on a 10th grade level.

The bill would also create a new state rating system to measure schools based not just on academic performance but financial performance and student and community involvement as well. The new system would use the traditionally recognized grading scale of A, B, C, D or F, according to the Cleveland Advocate, versus the current accountability rating system of “exemplary”, “recognized”, “academically acceptable” and “academically unacceptable”.

Meanwhile in the Senate, Sen. Dan Patrick, chairman of the Senate Public Education Committee, introduced a similar bill for consideration.

In addition to limiting the number of standardized tests to four or five and allowing a more tailored diploma based on student interests, Patrick’s bill also moves to eliminate the weight the tests have on the student’s overall final grades, according to a report by Chris Tomlinson of the Associated Press.

Currently, the 15 standardized tests are required to account for 15 percent of Texas high school graduates’ final grades in core courses.

The senate still needs to approve HB-5. The senate bill is still under debate.

Since the bills are still being debated, Sam Houston State University officials are uncertain at this time of the impact the reduction of standardized testing will have on admissions.

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