FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/04/2017
VanDeaver passes landmark standardized test reduction
State Rep. Gary VanDeaver (New Boston) passed a landmark reduction in standardized testing through the Texas House of Representatives today. House Bill 515 received near-unanimous approval of 141-3 and now moves to the Texas Senate for deliberation.
“Ask almost any public school parent or teacher and they will tell you the current testing system is excessive and takes too much time away from classroom instruction. This bill reduces the number of standardized tests in our schools, which puts the focus in our classrooms back on learning,” said Rep. VanDeaver.
A retired teacher, principal, and school superintendent, reducing the burden of standardized and high stakes testing on students and teachers has been a top priority for Rep. VanDeaver, who is serving his second term in the Texas House.
VanDeaver’s bill eliminates several standardized tests, including 8th grade social studies, 11th grade U.S. History, English III and Algebra II.
It also eliminates the retesting of students in grades 5 and 8 who fail to pass the reading and math STAAR exams, which can force some students to take as many as three tests in one subject. Instead, these students will receive individualized attention from a learning committee at their school, which is charged with helping the student achieve grade-level performance by the end of the following school year.
The bill also puts the state on a path to eliminate standardized writing tests by instead reviewing a portfolio of a student’s accumulated work. This provides a more accurate assessment of a student’s writing ability than is possible on a standardized test. In the previous legislature, VanDeaver passed HB 1164 (84R) to establish a pilot program for this approach. House Bill 515 will expand that pilot program with the goal of ending standardized writing tests entirely.
“Students, parents, and teachers don't need the state to impose excessive standardized tests to tell them what they already know from a student’s report card. This bill lessens the burden of over-testing, and empowers parents, teachers, and local schools to focus more on learning,” said Rep. VanDeaver.
Contact: Becky Calahan