In the 1990s, Texas pioneered using extensive, high-stakes standardized tests as a tool to improve schools. The results have been mixed—standardized-test scores have increased, but college professors find students are less prepared for the kind of deep learning that will lead to successful careers.
Texas requires more standardized tests than federal law requires, and requires that each student pass such tests to advance or graduate. Because this kind of testing has cultural and learning-style biases, many students are being held back until they give up on school and drop out. The loss of instructional time and flexibility from over-stressing a particular testing mode has impaired learning by students of all ability levels, as well as driven many teachers out of the profession.
Measuring how well school districts are serving their students is a legitimate public concern where standardized tests can provide some useful information, especially if adjusted for students’ other family and community support. But using such tests to decide the advancement of individual students is both unfair and inaccurate.
House Bill 3668 would reduce testing to the federally-required level and use individual results for diagnosis rather than punishment. Reducing over-testing would let schools better support students who truly need help. The state would still be able to use the tests to identify under-performing school districts.
CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE
HB 3668 has been approved by the House Public Education committee and will be scheduled for a vote by the full Texas House of Representatives. Call your representative and ask them to support House Bill 3668.
You can say/write:
My name is ______ and I live in ___________. My zip code is _________. I urge Representative ___________ to support House Bill 3668. Reducing standardized testing to federally required levels would give schools more instructional time and would remove the punitive impact of our accountability system on individual students. Please vote YES on HB 3668.