Texas Senate | Panel OKs easing test policy

 

Dear Friends,

A very informative article written by Terrence Stutz, Deputy Bureau Chief of Austin Bureau/Dallas Morning News

Texas Senate | Panel OKs easing test policy

Those who don’t pass all 5 exams could still graduate under plan

AUSTIN – Senate Education Committee members Wednesday unanimously approved legislation that would allow thousands of high school seniors to get a diploma without passing state graduation exams – a requirement that has been in place for 28 years.

The measure by Sen. Kel Seliger would allow high school seniors who cannot pass all five Texas end-of-course exams to bypass the graduation test requirement if they qualify for a new exemption created by the bill. The proposal now goes to the full Senate.

Since 1987, high school seniors in Texas have had to pass a graduation test – or series of tests – to get a diploma. The requirement dates back to the landmark school reform law passed in 1984 that also included class size limits and the no-pass, no-play rule.

Seliger said his legislation was prompted by the estimated 28,000 seniors from the Class of 2015 who are in danger of not receiving their diplomas because they have not passed all five end-of-course tests required for graduation. Those exams measure knowledge and skills in Algebra I, biology, English I, English II and U.S. history.

“Without a high school diploma, these students cannot attend college, join the military or qualify for many jobs,” Seliger said, adding that many of the students will simply drop out if they repeatedly fail the EOC exams, part of the STAAR testing program. “We want to make sure there aren’t any artificial impediments to these students graduating,” he explained.

His bill would create an “individual graduation committee” for each student who has failed EOC exams on multiple tries. The committee – made up of the principal, teacher, counselor and parent – could exempt the student from the test requirement with a unanimous vote. The panel would first consider other factors such as course grades and attendance.

Senate Education Committee Chairman Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, said parents and local school officials have complained of a “big disconnect” between test results and how students perform in class. “We have some real questions about the test. It is keeping some students from graduating who have done all their coursework and passed all their courses but just can’t get past this test,” he said.

Some senators, however, worried that many students would see the new exemption policy as a loophole in the law that would allow them to easily circumvent the graduation test requirement. And some critics of the idea predicted that most of the students who can’t pass the exams will now be allowed to skirt the requirement under the legislation.

Students who fail three or more of the five EOC exams would not be eligible for the exemption. This year, more than 90 percent of all seniors have already passed all five end-of-course tests. The other 28,000 students have one more chance to pass in the spring.

 

“It appears to politically appease anti-test parents and educators by extending social promotion to include the awarding of diplomas”.

Respectfully,

 

Tincy Miller

SBOE, District 12

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com

Two Experienced SAT Tutors Criticize New Redesigned SAT

 

Dear Friends,

A very informative article written by Donna Garner a retired teacher and an education activist.

 

“Two Experienced SAT Tutors Criticize New Redesigned SAT”

by Donna Garner  3.6.15

 

http://www.educationviews.org/experienced-sat-tutors-criticize-redesigned-sat/

 

ACTION STEP:  What the public needs to remember is that the way to “defang” the SAT is to drive the College Board that produces the SAT, the Pre-SAT, and all Advanced Placement tests out of business.  Some call this “starving the beast.”  Other tests and avenues through which to get admitted to colleges/universities do exist; and who knows, some entrepreneur company watching the outrage that the public is voicing about all Common Core products may decide to capitalize on this outrage by producing alternative products. 

 The new redesigned SAT is to be administered for the first time in March 2016.

 Below, I have posted two views of the new SAT by long-time SAT tutors. The first was sent to me by a successful, long-time SAT tutor.  I will call her “Sally Jane.” 

 The second is an article written by Lynn O’Shaughnessy; she is a nationally recognized college expert.  Jed Applerouth, PhD, founder of Applerouth Tutoring Services went through the SAT practice set of questions released by the College Board in December 2014.  Jed gave Lynn  permission to share his views of the new SAT.  I have posted some of my comments about the “present” SAT before giving the link to Lynn’s article.

 

BACKGROUND OF THE NEW MARCH 2016 SAT

 David Coleman is called “the architect of the Common Core.” When he finished his damaging work there, he went over to become the president of The College Board (CB). He has stated publicly numerous times that all College Board products will be aligned to the Common Core.  He is busily carrying out his pledge.  CB products include the SAT, Pre-SAT, and all Advanced Placement (AP) tests. 

 Starting in the fall of 2014, the AP U. S. History (APUSH) was completely redesigned to indoctrinate America’s finest and best 500,000 students to hate America. Other redesigned AP tests are in the pipeline.  

 Now we see what Common Core alignment means in the new SAT as these two long-time SAT tutors describe it. – Donna Garner]  

 

TESTIMONY #1 FROM SALLY JANE

 I just looked over the College Board’s new SAT practice material posted on the College Board website, and I’m reeling from the experience.

 Several sample texts were about such things as: how bad cars are, how people should live in “megaregions,” or how the biggest growth sector between 2010 and 2020 will be in urban planning — all Agenda 21 indoctrination.

 Interestingly, students will no longer be penalized for guessing as CB will no longer subtract ¼ point for a wrong answer. And there will be only 4 choices per question instead of 5 — a bonus for the guessers.

 I found the so-called reading section questions very difficult and not really about reading comprehension per se. In one example, they asked an odd interpretive question which, if you missed that question, you would also get the next question wrong since it was directly based on your previous answer.

 I pity the poor students.

 The truncated “verbal” section now is also studded with math/science questions asking the students to read graphs and answer word problems, somewhat like the ACT science section. I dislike having that portion in the English section. It doesn’t test verbal skills.

 There was no literature in the samples the CB provided.

 And, sadly, the essay has been downgraded into an AP English-type exercise: Students are strictly forbidden from expressing an opinion about the passage they must read. What kind of a message does that give our young people? They must merely cite what rhetorical devices, etc., the author uses to build his argument.  In other words, students have to “parrot” back what the author has stated – a prime way to indoctrinate students.

 I weep for these students.

 As for myself, my main source of income for many years now has been tutoring high school students, primarily working with them on SAT preparation — essay writing, grammar, vocabulary — not to mention often mentoring them, inspiring them to read literature, to learn to love language, and to take pride in their writing, and, when possible, teaching them what it means to be an American.

 I teach only the English portion of the exam, but that has worked well for me since the test was two-thirds English. That won’t be so in 2016.

 But even if the demand for SAT tutoring were to continue, I’m not sure I’d have the stomach to guide the students down the labyrinth of totalitarian indoctrination embedded in the forthcoming reading passages.

 And do please let me know if a patriot comes up with an alternative exam. I’d love to use it!

 Thanks so much,

  

TESTIMONY #2 FROM CEO OF SAT TUTORING COMPANY

 [2.29.15 — Comments from Donna Garner – The following article is written by Lynn O’Shaughnessywho is restating the comments made to her by Jed Applerough, PhD, the founder of Applerough Tutoring Services. Applerough encourages this year’s sophomores to avoid taking the new SAT but instead to take the present SAT (implemented in 2005) or else to take the ACT. 

 What I am anxious to find out is whether the redesigned 2016 SAT Writing section will retain the similar sub-sections and sub-scores of the present SAT (i.e., SAT Reasoning Test) which has three parts – Math, Critical Reading, and Writing. 

 The Writing section presently has two sub-scores – essay and grammar/usage (multiple-choice questions).  The grammar/usage section is weighted heavily — 70% of the Writing score — and is made up of 49 multiple-choice grammar/usage questions. The essay only counts 30%.

 The College Board added the grammar/usage to the 2005 SAT because of the downward spiraling of students’ English proficiency skills, and the 70% sub-score was meant to entice K-12 teachers across the country to emphasize correct grammar/usage in their classrooms.

 Because of the advent of technology devices and the social media, however, students’ grammar/usage skills have grown increasingly worse in the last few years.  Will the new redesigned SAT continue to emphasize correct grammar/usage by weighting that section heavily (70%)? 

 If I were to offer a guess, I would say the new redesigned and Common Core-aligned SAT will de-emphasize English proficiency; and if there is any grammar/usage on the test at all, it will be given minimal scoring weight.  This de-emphasis on grammar/usage will lead to the further erosion of the English language. – Donna Garner]  

  1.29.15 – “Why You Should Worry About the New SAT Test” – by Lynn O’Shaughnessy – The College Solutionhttp://www.thecollegesolution.com/why-you-should-worry-about-the-new-sat-test/

 Respectfully,

 Tincy Miller

SBOE, District 12

gtince@aol.com

www.tincymiller.com