Students across the state were tested in reading, math, writing, social studies, science at the end of April and first part of May. Tomorrow statewide results of Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) testing should be released.
The controversial exit-level test will be phased out during the next few years under a law signed last year. The TAKS will be replaced with 12 end-of-course exams throughout high school takes effect in 2011-12, but only for the ninth-grade class. Students in the upper-level grades will continue to take the high-stakes exit-level TAKS test until the class of 2015 enters 12th grade.
Districts could also use the TAKS as a final exam.
How crucial are these tests for students? At least 100 high school seniors in Galveston County failed the TAKS and will not graduate this year. While state law prohibits high school seniors from receiving a degree if any part of the exam is failed, it is up to school district administrators to allow students to walk on commencement day. Students are allowed to retake the exam at a later date.
There have been past allegations of death threats and injury to teachers and administrators if students in their schools do not pass the test. Additionally, there has been ongoing controversy surrounding teacher bonuses that are shaped around TAKS results.
The Houston Independent School District (HISD) wants accountability to move away from minimum standards and towards measuring growth, which is the basis for the teacher bonus system.
For now, as long as any type of testing and exit exams are in place, the controversy will remain.