Commissioner of Education Mike Morath agreed to address the TCTA Representative Assembly during our annual convention this year. After his presentation, he graciously took questions from the audience.
 
One TCTA member asked if anything could be done to reduce the burden of TELPAS calibration. His response to TCTA Executive Director Jeri Stone, excerpted below, shows that TEA at his direction is actively pursuing efforts to reduce the burden of TELPAS calibration.

While I was meeting with your leaders (last month?), one of the teachers in the room asked a question about how we can reduce the burden imposed by TELPAS calibration. I wanted to pass on that we’ve been working the problem, and this is a quick synopsis:
Because TELPAS is a holistic assessment, calibration is the single most important procedure for determining the reliability and validity of the test. That said, we& certainly recognize the time requirements training and calibration places on teachers with already busy schedules. We are looking at near-term options to provide some flexibility to districts to meet this requirement going forward. Specifically, we are gathering feedback this year for efficiency changes we can make next year. Some ideas being investigated for grades 2-12 writing include:

  • breaking up monitored calibration sessions so teachers can work on them in parts across the day, and
  • allowing districts to centrally assign only a few educators as raters (instead of all teachers of English learners).

In addition to exploring these near-term changes, the Student Assessment Division will double check any validity or statistical constraints inherent in moving the calibration process to every 2-3 years. Also, it is important to note that the English language proficiency standards (ELPS) are being revised. In the next two years, once the ELPS have been approved by the State Board of Education, TEA's Student Assessment Division will be redesigning the state's English language proficiency assessment. With this design change, TEA will certainly take into consideration how to determine reliability and validity of the assessment without requiring current training and calibration steps for educators. We value their time and will work to make a future assessment that meets their needs while maintaining the reliable test results used to make instructional decisions for English learners.