Summary of Public Comments and Agency Responses Related to Proposed Revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 101, Assessment, Subchapter BB, Commissioner's Rules Concerning the Student Success Initiative
§101.2003. Grade Advancement Testing Requirements
Comment: An administrator from Tomball Independent School District (ISD) expressed concern about the removal of third grade from the Student Success Initiative (SSI) program. The administrator commented that because third grade is such a critical time for students, it is necessary that third grade students receive targeted intervention. The administrator also commented that when third grade was included in SSI, teachers and parents paid a great deal of attention to it because it seemed to be elevated in importance. The administrator expressed concern that with the removal of third grade from SSI, the state will see a downward trend in reading at the third grade level. In addition, the administrator indicated that research shows that the older a child is, the more intervention he or she needs.
Agency Response: The agency provides the following clarification. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) must adhere to statutory requirements and cannot reinstate Grade 3 SSI requirements that the 81st Texas Legislature removed from law with the enactment of House Bill 3 in 2009.
§101.2006. Accelerated Instruction
Comment: The Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA) commented that the requirement in proposed new §101.2006(e)(1) tolimit the size of accelerated instruction groups in Grades 5 and 8 for SSI subject areas to a maximum ratio of 10 students for each teacher contravenes statutory authority, as the enabling statute, TEC, §28.0211, requires the 10-student maximum ratio in accelerated instruction to apply to all students receiving accelerated instruction, including those in Grades 3, 4, 6, and 7.
The TCTA commented that because existing TEC, §28.0211(c), requires that an accelerated instruction group not have a ratio of more than 10 students to each teacher, and because all students in Grades 3-8 are now required under the amended TEC, §28.0211(a-1), to receive accelerated instruction if they fail a TAKS assessment, all accelerated instruction groups for Grades 3-8 may not exceed a ratio of 10 students to every teacher.
The TCTA requested that proposed new §101.2006(a) be amended to add the sentence, "A student shall be assigned to an accelerated instruction group that does not have a ratio larger than ten students for each teacher." The TCTA also requested that a corresponding sentence be deleted from proposed new §101.2006(e)(1).
Agency Response: The agency disagrees and maintains language as published as proposed. TEC, §28.0211, does not require a maximum ratio of 10 students to every teacher for accelerated instruction in Grades 3-8. TEC, §28.0211(c), states that a student failing to perform satisfactorily on an assessment instrument required under TEC, §28.0211(a)--assessments for SSI purposes in Grades 5 and 8--shall receive accelerated instruction and that these accelerated instruction groups shall not exceed a student-teacher ratio of 10 to 1.
Comment: The TCTA recommended that the commissioner consider adding an exception to proposed new §101.2006(e)(2), which reads, "..., although exceptions may be allowed by the GPC for extenuating circumstances that may have adversely affected the student's ability to participate in accelerated instruction," to allow for consideration of extenuating circumstances.
Agency Response: The agency disagrees and maintains language as published as proposed. TEC, §28.0211(a-1), (a-2), and (c), lay out clear requirements for accelerated instruction for Grades 3-8. The TEC does not allow for a specific exemption from accelerated instruction as requested by the TCTA.
Comment: Administrators from Garland ISD and North East ISD and an individual commented on proposed new §101.2006(e)(2) and accelerated instruction requirements for grade promotion. The Garland ISD administrator noted that, because the third opportunity to test for SSI grades occurs in late June or early July and results are not available until mid-to-late July, there is little opportunity to provide accelerated instruction before the new school year begins. The Garland ISD administrator also noted that if a decision is made by the Grade Placement Committee (GPC) to promote the student to the next grade level, the current wording of the rule puts school districts in the difficult position of trying to provide meaningful accelerated instruction between the GPC meeting in late July or early August and the start of school later in August. The North East ISD administrator commented that teachers are not on contract at many school districts at the time summer school is over. The individual commented that in the past, accelerated instruction was provided after the start of the new school year for those students promoted by the GPC who had not passed the state assessment.
Comment: An individual expressed concern with the proposed rule stating that SSI students must receive accelerated instruction after each instance of not performing satisfactorily on an SSI assessment instrument.The individual asked for clarification if accelerated instruction for SSI students who do not pass the assessment instrument after the third administration must occur before the start of the school year.
Comment: An administrator from Tuloso-Midway ISD asked how year-round school districts will meet the accelerated instruction requirements with the new school year typically beginning around the fourth week of July, a week after teachers have returned.
Agency Response to Comments from North East ISD, Garland ISD, Tuloso-Midway ISD, and an Individual: The agency provides the following clarification. TEC, §28.0211(a-2), states that a "student who fails to perform satisfactorily on an assessment instrument specified under Subsection (a) and who is promoted to the next grade level must complete accelerated instruction required under Subsection (a-1) before placement in the next grade level. A student who fails to complete required accelerated instruction may not be promoted." Section 101.2006(e)(2) does not require that the accelerated instruction after the third administration occur before the beginning of the school year. Instead the rule, consistent with statute, does not allow placement in the next grade level until all required accelerated instruction has been completed. Students may be promoted to the next grade level or placed at the next grade level at anytime during the subsequent school year, once the accelerated instruction requirements have been met.
Comment: An administrator from Tuloso-Midway ISD noted that proposed new §101.2006(e)(2) seems to require that accelerated instruction be provided for all students in Grades 3-8 after each TAKS administration on which they do not meet the standard, including after the third administration, and commented that this requirement would be difficult to meet.
Agency Response: The agency provides the following clarification. Section 101.2006(e)(2) does not refer to all students in Grades 3-8; rather, the rule refers to students in Grades 5 and 8 who take an SSI assessment by stating, "a student who fails to perform satisfactorily on an assessment instrument specified under the TEC, §28.0211(a), after the first, second, and third testing opportunities and who is promoted to the next grade level must complete, in accordance with state and local school board policy, all the accelerated instruction required under this section before placement in the next grade level. A student who fails to complete all the required accelerated instruction may not be promoted." TEC, §28.0211(a), the statutory authority for §101.2006(e)(2), is specific to SSI assessments only, and new §101.2006(e)(2) does not refer to any assessments other than SSI assessments in Grades 5 and 8.
§101.2007. Role of Grade Placement Committee
Comment: The TCTA commented that the requirement in §101.2007(f) to make promotion or placement in the next grade level contingent on the completion of all required accelerated instruction specified in §101.2006 apply to allstudents receiving accelerated instruction appears to exceed statutory authority. Additionally, the TCTA requested that a unanimous GPC decision to promote an individual student substitute for student completion of all required accelerated instruction specified in §101.2006.
Agency Response: The agency provides the following clarification. Section 101.2007(f) does not state that all students in Grades 3-8 must receive accelerated instruction before being promoted or placed in the next grade level. Instead, language in the rule limits accelerated instruction requirements for promotion and/or placement to Grades 5 and 8 only. Concerning the request to substitute a unanimous GPC decision, the TEC does not allow a GPC decision to substitute for meeting statutory requirements related to accelerated instruction.
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