Standardized Testing

US Department of Education

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has asked the U.S. Department of Education allow the state to delay a full rollout of a new teacher evaluation system and teacher's associations are applauding Williams' action.

As per agreement with that allows Texas to opt out of sections of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, Williams was to design a teacher evaluation pilot program, test it using voluntary school districts, and then rollout the program after a year. 

Texas State Board of Education Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff said he would like to see the state completely abandon the federal No Child Left Behind program. 

Ratliff said in 2013 lawmakers reduced the number of tests for high school students but failed in their attempts to do the same for elementary and middle school students out of fear that Texas would lose its federal public education dollars. Ratliff said that money only accounts for less than 10% of the state public education budget.

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

State teachers gave House leaders their take on the new job assessment pilot program designed by the Texas Education Agency. Teachers criticized the use of student test scores to measure job performance, calling the formula “black magic” with no type of scientific evidence.

As part an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, the TEA designed a program for teacher evaluation in order to opt out of the federal No Child Left Behind program. The proposed plan gives student end-of-course exams a 20 percent weight, which is a minimum set by federal education officials.

As per his agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has submitted a new teacher evaluation model this week that uses student test scores as one of the components for measuring a teacher's success.   

The teacher evaluation system is part of the waiver that allowed Texas to opt out of No Child Left Behind.  This week Williams released the final draft of that evaluation, an evaluation that counts 20 percent from students' standardized test scores. 

Officials with the Texas Education Agency say 8th graders this year will be allowed to use calculator apps on a tablet during the math portion of their State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness end-of-course exam.

While to some it may not seem like a big deal, Debbie Ratcliffe with the TEA says it is, especially considering that no other standardized tests allow the use of apps during testing.