The Fort Worth Independent School District will discuss, at a board meeting Tuesday, whether or not to waive a requirement that new standardized testing count as 15 percent of current freshman’s final grades said Dr. Sharon Meng, FWISD Assistant Superintendent of Advanced, Accelerated and Innovative Learning.
In a recent release from the Texas Education Agency, Education Commissioner Robert Scott announced he would allow public school districts and charter schools to waive the state requirement that performance on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness end-of-course tests will count for 15 percent of the student’s final grade for the 2011-2012 school year.
Meng said that if the district decides to waive the policy, she believed it would relieve some tension among educators.
“To make [the EOC test] 15 percent of the student’s grade when we don’t even know what’s on it, it makes us a little uncomfortable,” Meng said. “We haven’t seen how it’s going to be scored and we don’t know what’s passing. We’d just feel more comfortable if we knew what we were getting into.”
Paschal English Lead Content teacher Daniel Lancaster also thought waiving the new grading policy this school year would help the district prepare for the future.
“We don’t have an understanding of the full scope of the test,” Lancaster said. “It would be nice to see it and be able to plan for it better with more released items.”
At the same time, the state will still require that students who have entered the ninth grade this year achieve a passing cumulative score on the EOC tests to graduate, according to the TEA website. Because of this, Paschal AP World History teacher and Academic Coordinator Barbara Ozuna, said, even though the possible policy deferment may reduce angst over the test, it would not change the importance of the exam.
If FWISD waives the policy, she said, the district still must prepare the students for the STAAR EOC tests and act as if the scores were actually counting this year.
“The test is still incredibly important,” Ozuna said. “I think it would be foolish for us to do something different.”
Read more about STAAR testing for high school students here.