CFISD policies aid transition to new exams
The Cy Fair school board adopted new policies on Monday to help administrators begin implementing end-of-course exams for high school students, part of the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness system that is replacing current state academic assessment testing.
Mary Jadloski, assistant superintendent of secondary curriculum and instruction, told board members that administrators from Cy-Fair and 10 area school districts have been meeting since January to prepare to implement the new assessment system in 2012.
The group includes Katy, Aldine, Alief, Spring, Fort Bend, Brenham, Waller, Houston, Humble and Tomball school districts, she said.
"We just feel it's important to be somewhat consistent across school districts in the area," Jadloski said of the "think tank" meetings.
At grades 3–8, the STAAR exams will assess the same subjects and grades that are assessed on Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, beginning next year.
At high school, however, TAKS is replaced with grade-specific end-of-course tests in all required subject areas, which are Algebra I and II, geometry, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, II and III; world geography, world history and U.S. history.
This year's high school freshmen will be the first class to take the new end-of-course exams and the first to graduate after taking all 12 exams under the STAAR system.
The Texas Education Agency has provided some broad guidelines for the system, but many uncertainties remain, Jadloski said. For example, school districts won't know until February what the passing standard for the exams will be, she said.
Still, administrators have been able to identify needed policies to begin implementation of the end-of-course exams, Jadloski said.
"Our recommendations are in line with the starting point recommendations given to us by the Texas Association of School Boards," she said.
Under the approved policies, end-of-course exam grades will be stated on student transcripts but will not affect credit given for each class, grade-point averages or class rank. The end-of-course grades do count as 15 percent of final course grades.
Students can re-take the exams, but the re-takes will not be reported or used for grading purposes. Rather, the re-takes can improve students' cumulative scores, which apply toward graduation.
Grade calculations using the end-of-course exam scores will comply with existing grading policies.
"We want to implement the law without applying a triple threat to our students," Jadloski said of the policies. "Nowhere have we seen this much weight on a single item, especially without knowing what that test might be."
In other action, the board set a Nov. 8 election for trustee Position 1 held by Larry Youngblood and trustee Position 2 held by Ethel Wolfe, and set a Nov. 21 special meeting to canvass results.
As of the first day of filing on Monday, four candidates had filed. Filing continues through Sept. 7.
Local Advertising by PaperG