Bill proposed by Texas Senator Kel Seliger would slash standardized testing in high schools

Hannah Jane DeCiutiis

Texas high school students may have the opportunity to graduate with fewer required standardized tests and more concentration in career pathway courses because of a bill proposed Tuesday in the Texas Senate.

State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, filed the bill as chairman of the Higher Education committee. The bill would require participating public high school students to pass only five standardized tests in core subject areas in order to graduate in addition to earning 26 required credits. 

Local educators would also be able to grant “endorsements” to students who complete five credits in any one discipline. The selected disciplines are humanities, business, human service, science, technology, engineering or math.

These endorsements would allow for much-needed workforce preparation early on in a student’s education, Seliger said.  

“They are kind of like high school majors,” Seliger said. “[They] allow career and technical pathways and STEM pathway concentration. There’s a healthy dose there of workforce preparation and college preparation. That’s what educators and employers say they need.”

Seliger said there are currently fifteen standardized exams required of students to graduate. The bill would require students to pass only five standardized tests in biology, algebra II, U.S. history and English reading & writing, according to the text of the bill. 

The other exams would be used for varying levels of course assessment at the discretion of local educators as a way to determine student progress, Seliger said.

A positive effect of the bill could include increased graduation rates from students who drop out due to high-stakes standardized testing, Seliger said.

Seliger said he represents 82 Texas school districts and files legislation directly based on the needs of educators in those districts.

“I don’t do public education legislature without the consultation of educators,” Seliger said. “This is very much an educator‘s bill.” 

Published on January 23, 2013 as "Senator proposes fewer tests in Texas schools".