Analysis of Senate and House versions of accountability bills going into conference committee

Charters:

Both bills exempt open-enrollment charter schools from satisfactory performance on state assessment instruments. (same as in original bill)

Student success initiative:

House version states that students get accelerated instruction if they fail to meet the requirements for student advancement from one grade level to the next determined by a school district, and that accelerated instruction must be developed in consultation with parent/guardian.

Senate version states that students only get accelerated instruction if they fail a math or reading test, and that accelerated instruction must be approved by parent/guardian and the district.

House version provides for a 10-student limit in all accelerated instruction classes. (a TCTA suggestion) Senate version states that the 10- student limit only applies to grades 3, 5 and 8.

Both bills maintain current law requirement for a grade placement committee (GPC) only for students in grades 3, 5 and 8 (current law).

House version uses the language in Texas Education Agency (TEA) rules that the teacher in the GPC committee must be the student’s teacher for the subject of the assessment instrument which the student failed. (a TCTA suggestion)

Senate version does not have this language.

High school graduation programs/curriculum:

Senate version provides that Section 28.035(a) does not prohibit the State Board of Education (SBOE) from designating the total number of credits required under the enrichment curriculum for a student participating in the Minimum, Recommended or Advanced High school programs.

House version does not have this language.

House version requires for Recommended and Advanced high school programs, must complete 4X4, including at least half credit in government and at least half credit in economics for social studies, as well as two credits in the same foreign language as well as eight electives.

Senate version requires for the Recommended high school program, must complete 4X4, including at least half credit in government and at least half credit in economics for social studies, plus two credits in the same foreign language; for the Advanced high school program, maintains current requirement of three foreign language credits. Also requires that all three high school programs include one fine arts and one physical education (PE) credit.

House version amends current law regarding career and technical education course (CTE) substitutions for math/science by expanding this allowance to the Minimum high school program (as well as the currently allowed Recommended and Advanced high school programs) and by allowing it for ANY math/science credit (not just fourth year credit). Any CTE course approved as a substitute must cover the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for the subject in which the CTE course is substituted and the students must be administered the corresponding end-of-course (EOC) exam. School districts must seek approval from the SBOE in order to substitute a CTE course for any math/science course in any of the high school graduation programs. If approved, the course can be offered for three years.

Any CTE course approved as a substitute must cover the TEKS for the subject in which the CTE course is substituted and the students must be administered the corresponding EOC exam. Before the SBOE approves a CTE course for substitution, the board shall evaluate each application and associated information and give consideration to the recommendation regarding the application made by the task force established under Subsection (d). The board must take action approving or denying an application on or before the 180th day after the date the district submitted the application and all associated information. The board may begin evaluation of an application or take any associated administrative action, including posting an agenda item for a public meeting, before the board receives the task force’s recommendation.   

Olivo added: Requires that a course developed for purposes of this section must provide content that enables a student to develop the relevant and critical skills needed to be prepared for employment or additional training in a high-demand occupation; incorporate college and career readiness skills as part of the curriculum; satisfy a mathematics or science requirement under the minimum, recommended, or advanced high school program as provided by Section 28.025; and be taught by a teacher who holds a valid teaching certificate.The commissioner, in consultation with the commissioner of higher education, shall establish a CTE Course Review Task Force to make recommendations to the board regarding approval or disapproval of courses submitted under this section. The task force must consist of five members as follows:

(1) one representative of business and industry;

(2) one secondary educator and one postsecondary educator who provide instruction in career and technical education; and

(3) one secondary educator and one postsecondary educator who provide instruction in an academic discipline.

(e) The task force established under Subsection (d) must make its recommendation to the board regarding approval or disapproval of a course not later than the 90th day after the date the district submitted the application and all associated information.

Senate version doesn’t change current law in this regard – only allows CTE math/science course substitutions for fourth year of math/science in the Recommended and Advanced high school programs. 

Senate version requires the SBOE to adopt rules allowing courses offered in the foundation/enrichment curriculum to simultaneously satisfy more than one required credit for all three high school programs. 

House version requires the SBOE to adopt rules allowing only courses in the enrichment curriculum to simultaneously satisfy more than one required credit for all three high school programs.

House version renames the Minimum high school program the “Basic” high school program and adds additional requirements to it, including four courses in English Language Arts (ELA), three courses in math, three courses in science (currently two) and three courses in social studies (currently 2.5).

Both bills require that student can enroll in Minimum high school program only if:

(1)is at least 16 years of age;

(2)has completed the credits necessary for the 10th grade under the recommended or advanced high school program; or

(3)has failed to be promoted to the 10th grade one or more times.

Senate version requires that a student must also have completed at least two credits in each subject of the foundation curriculum required for graduation in order to enroll in the Minimum high school program.

Senate version prohibits district grading policies from requiring teachers to assign a minimum grade for an assignment without regard to the student’s quality of work. (TCTA bill)

Testing:

Senate version requires that the commissioner shall develop a plan for implementing college preparation assessments as part of the state assessment program beginning with eighth grade assessments in the 2010-2011school year.

Both bills require TEA to collect data in order to set performance standards during 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years through annual administration of state tests required in grades 3-8 and through EOC exams to samples of students (field testing).

Both bills require the commissioner to determine satisfactory levels of performance on state tests instead of the SBOE.

Uniform GPA:

Both bills eliminate current law regarding the Commissioner of Higher Education developing a uniform GPA requirement for all students admitted into institutions of higher education.

Data portal:

House version allows authorized employees of public institutions of higher education to access appropriate student data.

Senate version allows this in order to access data for "students applying for admission for use in developing strategies for improving student performance."

Measure of college readiness (CR):

Both bills require that the commissioner, (not SBOE) determine level of satisfactory performance on assessment instruments and that the commissioner, in conjunction with Commissioner of Higher Education, determines level of performance for college readiness.

House version requires studies conducted by TEA to substantiate the correlation between a certain level of performance on Algebra II and ELA Arts III and CR, to be scientifically validated research studies based on empirical evidence,

House version requires that TEA, to the extent practicable, shall conduct research studies to determine if CR levels can be set on science and social studies EOCs.

Senate version requires that TEA, in conjunction with Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), conduct research studies...but then goes on to say that if Commissioner and THECB find that there is a correlation between CR standards and science/social studies, they can set CR student performance standards on those EOCs.

Senate version requires that TEA shall gather data and conduct research on whether any correlation between certain level of performance on EOCs and success in military service or workforce training/cert or other credential program.

House version does not require this.

Graduation requirements:

House version requires that students in the Minimum high school program must pass Algebra I and ELA III EOCs.  Students in the Recommended/Advanced high school programs must pass Algebra II and ELA III EOCs.

Senate version requires that a student is required to perform satisfactorily under either performance standard under Section 39.0241 on two of the three EOC assessment instruments, in each subject in which the student is required to take EOC assessment instruments, but that a student who performs satisfactorily on the Algebra II and ELA III EOC assessment instruments under the CR performance standard, as determined under Section 39.024, is not required to comply with the requirement to perform satisfactorily on two of three EOC assessment instruments in those subjects. Accordingly, it appears that CSHB 3 is an easier graduation standard.

Senate version provides that the commissioner by rule may determine a method by which a student’s satisfactory performance on a Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) assessment or a preliminary American College Test (ACT) assessment may be used as a factor in determining whether the student satisfies the requirements of Subsection (a).

House version does not.

Exemption from state assessment for recent, unschooled immigrants:

Senate version provides that a student may be administered an accommodated or alternative assessment instrument or may be granted an exemption from or a postponement of the administration of an assessment instrument for a period of up to three years after initial enrollment in a school in the U.S. if the student is an immigrant and a student who is of limited English proficiency (LEP) and who, as a result of inadequate schooling outside of the U.S., lacks the necessary foundation in the essential knowledge and skills of the curriculum.

House version provides that a student can be exempt from state tests for up to three years if a student is a recent unschooled immigrant, is in a grade for which no test is available in the student’s primary language (current law) and as a result of significant gaps in formal schooling, lacks the necessary foundation in the TEKS as determined by the language proficiency assessment committee.

Senate version provides for exemption for up to five years if for LEP students whose initial enrollment in a school in the U.S. in grades 7-12 was as an unschooled asylee or refugee.

House version incorporates Eissler’s bill allowing for state and national norms to be computed using data that’s not more than eight years old (instead of current six years).

Accreditation:

Both bills allow for exit-level test retakes to count for Accreditation. (a TCTA suggestion)

Senate version requires that accreditation of school district is based in part on whether significant pattern of decreased academic performance developed as result of promoting students who didn’t pass Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).

Both bills provide that indicators of student achievement upon which accreditation is based include the percentage of student who perform satisfactorily on state assessments, the percentage of students who did not perform satisfactorily but who met the standard for annual improvement, the percentage of students who performed satisfactorily on the CR standard, and for students who did not perform satisfactorily on the CR standard, and the percentage of students who met the standard for annual improvement toward CR.

However, House version provides in addition that indicators of student achievement upon which accreditation is based also include the percentage increase in the number of students who performed satisfactorily or who met standard for annual improvement in CR.

House version provides that the commissioner shall periodically raise the minimum percentage of students meeting CR as necessary to reach the goal within 10 years, of Texas ranking in top 10 states in nation for CR and for no significant gaps in student performance or the percentage of students graduating under the Recommended or Advanced high school programs.

Senate version only provides for the commissioner to raise the minimum CR percentage in the context of distinction tier.

Both bills require that performance on the student achievement indicators under Subsections (c)(1) and (2) [Subsection (b)(1)] shall be compared to state standards and required improvement (deletes comparable improvement)

House version provides that in computing dropout and completion rates under Subsection (c)(2), the commissioner may exclude students who are ordered by a court to attend a high school equivalency certificate program but who have not yet earned a high school equivalency certificate; are incarcerated in a correctional facility operated by or under contract with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, overage students, or students who were previously reported to the state as dropouts.

Senate version provides that in computer dropout and completion rates, the commissioner shall exclude students who are ordered by a court to attend a high school equivalency certification program, students who were previously reported to the state as dropouts, over-aged students, students who were first enrolled in a U.S. school as an unschooled refugee/asylee, students in county detention facilities, students who return to school at any point prior to the fourth Friday in October each year, and students incarcerated in state/federal jails as adults.

Senate version provides that the commissioner by rule may adopt a method of evaluation by which a district or campus is not assigned an unsatisfactory performance rating solely because the district or campus fails to satisfy the minimum performance standards on 15 percentage points or fewer of the measures of evaluation the commissioner determines appropriate with respect to the student achievement indicators adopted under Section 39.053(c). Under the method of evaluation adopted by the commissioner under this subsection, the commissioner:

(1) may grant an exception under this subsection to a district or campus only if the performance of the district or campus is within five percent of the minimum performance standard established by the commissioner for the measure of evaluation;

(2) may not grant an exception under this subsection if a district or campus fails to satisfy the minimum performance standard on the same measure of evaluation for two consecutive school years; and

(3) may establish other performance criteria for a district or campus to obtain an exception under this subsection.

House version provides that to be assigned an acceptable performance rating, a school district/campus must perform satisfactorily on 85 percent of the measures the commissioner determines appropriate with respect to student achievement indicators, may not fail to perform satisfactorily on the same measure for two consecutive school years, and may establish other performance criteria for a district or campus to attain an exception. Provides that in determining additional criteria, the commissioner shall give consideration to performance on the same measure for student groups that are substantially similar in composition to all students on the same campus or district.

House version authorizes special accreditation investigation by TEA when significant pattern of increased student dropout rates or decreased academic performance develops as result of the promotion of students who failed TAKS, and when excessive numbers of students graduate under the Minimum high school plan.

Financial Accountability:

House version pulls charters into financial accountability rating system.

Senate version does not.

House version provides that the system may not include any indicators that require a school district to spend at least 65 percent or any other percentage of district operating funds for instructional purposes or lowers the financial management performance rating of a school district for failure to spend a certain percentage of operating funds for instructional purposes.

House version maintains the original bill’s requirement in the Financial Solvency review regarding projected district revenues and expenditures for the current school year and the following five school years.

Senate version cuts it down to two school years.

House version maintains the original bills’ requirement re PROJECTED DEFICIT. (a) If the review process under Section 39.0822 indicates a projected deficit for a school district general fund within the following five school years.

Senate version reduces that to three school years.

Sanctions/Interventions:

House version specifies that a campus is considered to be accredited-warned if campus has been assigned an accreditation status lower than accredited for fewer than three school year; and accredited-probation status if campus is assigned an accreditation status lower than accredited for three to five school years.

Senate version has no such provision.

Both bills provide that a principal who was not employed as a principal at a campus that was rated academically unacceptable the preceding school year is not required to attend School Leadership training.

House version provides that the commissioner may waive the requirement to order reconstitution, repurposing, alternative management or closure for one school year if the commissioner determines that on basis of improvement in student performance over the preceding two school years, the campus is likely to be assigned an accredited status for the following school year.

House version provides that for reconstitution, the principal can be retained if the campus intervention team determines that retention of the principal would be more beneficial to student achievement and campus stability than removal.

Senate version provides that for reconstitution, the principal can be retained if students enrolled at campus have demonstrated significant academic improvement or per Section 39.236 (current law).

House version merely provides for current law (subject to Section 39.236).

Both bills provide for repurposing as alternative to alternative management or closure.

Senate version requires that for repurposing: the principal is not retained at the campus, but that the principal may be retained at a repurposed campus if the commissioner determines that students at the campus have demonstrated significant academic improvement; and at least 75 percent of the teachers employed at the campus in the school year immediately preceding the repurposing of the campus are not retained at the campus, unless the commissioner or the commissioner ’s designee grants an exception, at the request of a school district, for:

(A) a teacher who provides instruction in a subject other than a subject for which an assessment instrument is administered under Section 39.023(a) or (c) who demonstrates to the commissioner satisfactory performance; or

(B) a teacher who provides instruction in a subject for which an assessment instrument is administered under Section 39.023(a) or (c) if the district demonstrates that the students of the teacher demonstrated satisfactory performance or improved academic growth on that assessment instrument.

(g) If an educator is not retained under Subsection (f), the educator may be assigned to another position in the district.

House version provides that requires that for repurposing:the principal is not retained at the campus; and the principal assigned to the campus has reviewed the performance of all teachers employed at the campus in the school year immediately preceding the repurposing of the campus and determined, after consulting with the community and the campus intervention team assigned to the campus, which teachers may be retained at the campus, giving preference to teachers certified in the subject matter taught by those teachers.

 

Senate version allows for-profit alternative management.

 

House version does not.

 

Both bills prohibit the commissioner from requiring name change of school.

 

House version provides that the commissioner may (orig bill said shall; Hochberg floor amend changed to may) suspend ratings during 2011-2012 school year.

 

Senate version provides that the commissioner may suspend ratings for the 2011-2012 school year; and for college readiness indicators, can suspend ratings for the 2012-2013 school year. (a TCTA suggestion)

 

Distinction:

House version provides that for Campus distinctions, the commissioner shall award distinction status to accredited campuses that:

1. are ranked in the top 25 percent of campuses in the state for annual improvement in student achievement; or

2. close or significantly diminish performance gaps between student subpopulations; or

3. satisfy distinction criteria for academic achievement in four core subject areas, fine arts, PE, 21st century workforce development, second language acquisition, and schools with recognized achievement in placing high school graduates in institutions of higher education. The distinction criteria for these areas shall be developed by a separate committee established by the commissioner of professionals/experts/educators in the relevant content area, community leaders including the business community, and appointees from the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house of representatives. Additionally, requires TEA to conduct a study on the feasibility and appropriateness of including additional categories of performance for a distinction designation, including library services and the campus learning environment.

Senate version provides that for distinction designations for districts/campuses: must attain certain percent of college ready students, with the percentage phased in over 10 years so Texas will be in top 10 states in nation.  Can count students who meet standard OR on growth trajectory toward standard OR improvement in the percentage of students meeting CR.  The commissioner must incrementally raise the minimum percentage required for distinction for the percentage of students meeting CR over 10 years so that Texas is in top 10 states in nation.

Senate version also provides that the commissioner by rule shall establish a recognized and exemplary rating for the academic distinction designation under this section based on district/campus which have a higher percentage of students achieving CR than required for distinction status. In establishing the recognized and exemplary ratings, the commissioner shall adopt criteria for the ratings, including the percentages of students under Sections 39.201(a)(1) and (2). The commissioner may consider the level of increased performance from school year to school year as a factor.

Senate version also provides that for campus distinctions, the commissioner shall award distinction for campuses:

1) if the campus is ranked in the top 25 percent of campuses eligible for distinction based on annual improvement in student achievement toward meeting CR or that significantly diminish or close performance gaps between student subpopulations; or

2) if the campus satisfies distinction criteria for academic achievement in four core subject areas, fine arts, PE, 21st century workforce development and second language acquisition.  The distinction criteria for these areas shall be developed by a separate committee established by the commissioner of professionals/experts/educators in the relevant content area, community leaders including the business community, and appointees from the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House of Representatives.

Excellence Exemptions:

House version provides that the commissioner shall award exemptions to campuses receiving distinction designation (same as original bill, strikes districts).

Senate version provides: SBOE shall develop plan for excellence exemptions only for campuses receiving distinction and rated exemplary in academic distinction designation.

Reporting:

House version adds new a section 39.237 re Gifted/Talented (GT) standards, requires the commissioner to adopt standards to evaluate school district GT programs to determine whether the programs are in accordance with the Texas Performance Standards Project or another program approved by the commissioner.

House version adds an additional performance indicator to the biennial performance review to be performed by the commissioner: the percentage of students who enroll and begin instruction at an institution of higher education in the school year following high school graduation.

Senate version adds two additional performance indicators: the percentage of students who enroll and begin instruction at an institution of higher education in the school year following high school graduation; and the percentage of students who successfully complete the first year of instruction at an institution of higher education without needing a developmental education course.

Senate version clarifies that the Teacher Report card shall be provided to the teacher at the beginning of the school year for incoming students. (TCTA suggestion)

House version does not provide this clarification.

 

CTE:

Both bills provide for the development of math and science courses for high-demand occupations. However, House version does not involve the commissioner of education in this, while Senate version does. 

Both bills require the commissioner of higher education to award a matching grant of up to $1 million to an institution of higher education to work with at least one school district and business entity to develop advanced math and science courses to prepare high school students for employment in high-demand occupations. These courses must be offered as dual credit and can be used to satisfy any math/science requirement under the Texas Diploma or Advanced high school programs.

Senate version also allows grant funds to be used for professional development for secondary grade-level teachers teaching one of these courses, while House version does not.