State bill looks to reform standardized testing in public schools

AUSTIN, Texas -- A Dripping Springs state representative has filed a bill that aims to decrease the strain of standardized testing on public schools.

Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) filed HB 1333 on Friday and has received bipartisan support by 10 other legislators. The Teaching Over Testing Act looks to reform standardized testing in four different ways.

The bill proposes to remove the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) from teacher evaluations. Another reform the bill proposes is to allow districts the choice whether to use STAAR or any nationally normed standardized test that complies with TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills).

“We need to let the school districts purchase a standardized test,” said Isaac. “That complies with TEKS. So that means no common core in the tests… If you take competition from one, being the state, and you open it up to a thousand school districts – more competitors.”

The bill also looks to reduce the weight of STAAR on schools’ accountability ratings – from 55 percent to 25.

“We’ve got to reduce the dependence on those standardized tests,” said Isaac. “But it increases a couple of other areas that are important metrics… health and wellness and parental involvement.”

The fourth proposed reform of the bill is to reduce the number of exams. Instead of 21 STAAR exams, Isaac said there would just be 17 standardized tests.

Monty Exter, a lobbyist with the Association of Texas Professional Educators, said this is a bill they strongly agree with.

“We totally agree that the tests should be a diminished part of the accountability system,” said Exter. “The accountability system should not be used as a sledgehammer against the public schools of Texas.

However, Exter said ATPE is concerned about allowing districts to use standardized tests of their choosing to evaluate students.

GO HERE to follow the progress of HB 1333.

(© 2017 KVUE)


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