HB 2836

83(R) - 2013
Public Education

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral


Bennett Ratliff

Bill Caption

Relating to state assessment instruments administered in grades three through eight in public schools.

Fiscal Notes

Estimated two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for HB2836: A positive impact of $9,570,000 through the biennium ending August 31, 2015. The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill. School districts and open-enrollment charter schools would no longer be required to proctor the writing assessments in grade seven and the social studies assessment in grade eight.

Bill Analysis

Summary: HB 2836 seeks to increase instructional time in the classroom and ensure that accountability measures are effective. This legislation changes current law in four ways.

  1. It removes the requirement for students to take an exam in 8th grade social studies and a 7th grade writing exam.
  2. HB 2836 requires an independent third party, not the Texas Education Agency (TEA) nor the exam developer, to review the assessments to determine that they are empirical and meet the exam duration requirements.
  3. The legislation requires that the exams be written in such a way that 85% of students in grades three through five can finish the exam in 120 minutes and 85% of students in grades six through eight can finish the exam in 180 minutes.
  4. The exams are redesigned to emphasize readiness standards that will be factored in accountability ratings. Currently, assessments include readiness standards and supporting standards, both of which are used as accountability measures. Readiness standards assess what a student is learning in the current grade while supporting standards assess the student's previous grade and next grade knowledge base.

HB 2836 will change the accountability requirement by allowing only the questions that address readiness standards to be used for accountability and supporting questions will be used for diagnostics and reporting requirements.

Analysis: HB 2836 allows teachers to focus on instructing students on what is pertinent to their students' learning in the respective grades. This legislation minimizes restrictive testing measures; therefore, making government more transparent, limited in scope, and efficient in educating students. With these changes, exams will test the knowledge that the students should have gathered rather than using questions that are challenging but do not assess pertinent knowledge. HB 2836 will also enhance accountability by requiring teachers to focus on ensuring their students know the material in the grade they are teaching and will help parents gauge how well their children are performing. We recommend legislators vote for HB 2836.