Texas high schoolers see relief from high-stakes testing rule

For a second year, Texas high schools will not be required to count new end-of-course exams as part of a student’s grade, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams announced Friday, the Huffington Post reports. The decision comes after Republican Gov. Rick Perry suggested the requirement’s deferral and backed a proposal to allow school districts to individually decide whether to implement it. The new rule sets the results of tough new state exams to count for 15 percent of a student’s final grade.

“While we must continue to adhere to our state’s accountability system, we must also recognize the importance of local control,” Perry wrote in a letter to Williams, according to The Texas Tribune. The letter marks the first time the governor has publicly taken a stance on the issue…

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Texas Education Agency seeks $1 million for exam security

The Texas Education Agency is asking the state Legislature for $1 million for investigations into irregularities in student tests, the Huffington Post reports. Education Commissioner Michael Williams says the money would “create a special investigations unit that would be in charge of reviewing reports that suggest serious testing irregularities” and reinstate random school audits that were slashed due to budget cuts, according to the Dallas Morning News. Officials say the funding would strengthen the administration of the state’s new standardized test, in its second year. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, made its debut in March as a more rigorous replacement for the previous Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. Cheating on standardized exams continues to be a problem in Texas, as 49 teachers and administrators have been sanctioned for violating state testing rules between 2007 and 2011…

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