Texas House Debates Testing, School Grading System

The controversy over high stakes testing in schools reached the floor of the Texas House this week. Many teachers and parents say students are tested too much.

If passed, House Bill 5 would reduce the number of tests in high schools from 15 to 5.

It would also revise the graduation plan for students and change how schools get graded by the state.

But before voting on the bill, first representatives had to wade through more than 100 amendments.

“Members, it’s on the motion to table, the Herrero amendment. Vote Aye, Vote No, clerk ring the bell.

[Bell rings].

Rep. Aycock voting aye.

Rep. Herrero voting no …”

One amendment that failed would have automatically put students on what’s called the “distinguished” plan for graduation. That plan prepares them for college.

The bill proposes students start by default on the foundation plan, which doesn’t prepare students for college but gives more flexibility for things like vocational training.

Another amendment that failed would have created what Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock calls “test creep.”

Aycock is the author of House Bill 5 and chairs the public education committee.

“I respectfully request that you not support this amendment, we’re not wanting to go to eight tests, we want to go to five tests. That’s been clear throughout the day. I do not want to force districts to continue the time or expense of giving these tests. I think five is an adequate assessment number.”

The debate is expected to continue as the Senate considers its version of the bill this week.

Bio photo of Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for KUHF, including K-12 and higher education.

Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and regularly contributed to WLRN, the local NPR affiliate and Miami Herald news partner...