Standardized Testing

Flickr user Phil Ostroff / cc

Lawmakers managed to postpone a high-stakes testing bill on the first Friday the Senate has worked this session.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said it was an agreement in principle that the Senate would take up and pass a House bill being carried by Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, which reduces the number of end-of-course exams from 15 to five.

"But apparently a number of members - principally Democrat, but some Republicans - had not been in the meeting and felt like they had not been briefed enough. And I understand that, I understand that," Patrick said.

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

Texas Matters: With the investigation into the West fertilizer plant explosion ongoing, the House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee held a hearing to clarify who is responsible for reviewing these kinds of facilities. Also on this show: The chances that Ted Cruz makes a presidential run and the future of high-stakes testing in Texas.

Flickr user Phil Ostroff / cc

Unlike its House companion, Senate Bill 1403 does not rely heavily on test scores taken from high-stakes exams to evaluate teachers.

Originally the bill included a provision that mandated 25 percent of a teacher's evaluation was directly related to students' grades on the state’s end-of-course exams.

Flickr user Phil Ostroff / cc

Following the passage of House Bill 5 out of the Senate Committee on Education, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, the chairman of the committee, chided the businesses and media outlets who have alleged that lowering the number of state-mandated end-of-course exams would dumb-down public school curriculum.

Patrick said nothing could be further from the truth.

Flickr user biologycorner (Shannan Muskopf) / cc

In the first segment: 

San Antonio state Rep. Mike Villarreal is the author of a bill being considered to reduce the number of standardized tests. Also joining us is Jim Windham, chairman of Texas Institute for Education Reform.

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