Bowing to pressure from parents, superintendents and state lawmakers, Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott said he will defer for one year a rule that would have required a new standardized test account for 15 percent of a student’s final course grade. The waiver applies to the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR test).
“For this school year, the ultimate decision whether to include end-of-course exam scores as part of course grades will be determined locally by school districts and charter schools,” Scott said in a news release.
As we reported earlier this week, the new rule was particularly concerning for the parents of ninth graders, who feared the redesigned exams could negatively affect their children’s high school transcripts and their odds of getting into the best college possible.
“We’re very happy that Commissioner Scott has issued this waiver,” said Susan Schultz, the parent of a ninth grade student in Austin ISD. Schultz is also with Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment, which has argued against the 15 percent requirement.
“As a general principle, we don’t think that any standardized scores should be included in students’ grades. Historically, that has never been the case,” Schultz said, adding that she hopes the state legislature can permanently waive the rule in the next legislative session, scheduled to begin in January 2013.
Commissioner Scott initially said he lacked the legal authority to waive the 15 percent requirement. But on Monday, State Senator Florence Shapiro and three of her Senate colleagues wrote to Scott, saying he could defer the rule. This afternoon, the Texas Education Agency received a similar letter from House lawmakers that began publicly circulating Wednesday.