The Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability held its next-to-last meeting in June. Commission members are working toward recommendations for the Legislature to consider next session about how to revise the state’s current testing and accountability systems. However, the group is finding it difficult to get down to the nuts and bolts of a very complex issue.

The commission is scheduled to hold a final meeting in July to agree on the recommendations that will be forwarded to the Legislature. Among the issues that appear to have broad support from commission members are the following; note that these are not officially final recommendations:

  • Testing should be limited to readiness standards.
  • The commissioner of education should be encouraged to place more emphasis on student growth in Domains 1-3.
  • The state should move to multiple assessment computer-adaptive testing that allows teachers to get information about student performance throughout the year.
  • Writing should be assessed at the local level, with commissioner approval of the local instrument and random sampling to determine if districts are providing adequate instruction in writing.
  • The SBOE should streamline the TEKS, making them more efficient and adding more depth.
  • The state should re-tie end-of-course exams to college and career readiness standards so that there is a statistical correlation to national tests (such as the SAT/ACT); also include student performance on the SAT/ACT in Domain 4 (which currently only includes SAT/ACT participation).
  • The Legislature should study the issue of replacing the state assessment system with SAT/ACT that would be aligned to state TEKS; also the state should fund a broader administration of national standardized tests.
  • The state accountability system should be aligned with federal ESSA requirements.
  • The law creating graduation committees that allow a student to graduate despite not having passed all of the required standardized tests should be retained.