AP NEWS

Fewer standardized tests a possibility for Hargrave students

February 28, 2019

Hargrave High School students now have an option to avoid their English or Math end of course exams.

The board approved the participation in a Texas Education Agency policy that allows students to substitute their PSAT exam for an equivalent STAAR End of Course assessment if they meet a certain score at the Huffman ISD Board meeting on Feb. 25.

The measure was approved at the recommendation of Hargrave principal Brandon Perry.

“The state has put that out there as an alternative or a substitute for an EOC,” Perry said. “We’ve always been about putting our students first, and we really feel like, if a student has already met a substitute criteria, we don’t want to have to put him or her through another standardized test.”

The policy allows a student to substitute the PSAT for the English I and Algebra I EOCs.

Depending on the grade at which the student takes the PSAT, he or she needs between a 410 and 460 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing portion of the PSAT to substitute it for the English I EOC and between a 450 and 510 on the Mathematics portion of the PSAT to substitute it for the Algebra I EOC.

In addition to taking fewer tests in general — Perry stated that he is not a proponent of over-testing — he sees at least two other major benefits.

“There’s a lot of stress around the state’s standardized tests, so if we can take one more stressor off of those students, we absolutely would want to do that,” Perry said.

“We also feel that, by promoting the PSAT, that ultimately, we’re going to improve our SAT scores,” he added. “When a student finds out, ‘if I do well on the PSAT, I may not have to take one of my state assessments,’ we feel like, in the long run, it’s going to help them on their SAT as well.”

Since the students have already taken the PSAT this school year, the school will immediately start sending out letters to parents informing them if their child met the criteria for the alternate assessment.

During his presentation to the board, Perry did state that parents could opt their child into taking the EOC assessments.

He also told the board that, because the students who score higher on the PSAT would also likely be the ones to score higher on the EOCs, that the school may see its overall scores go down, but he presented data from nearby schools to show that the effect on a school’s scores is often minimal.

“We may see a little bit of an accountability situation when it comes to our campus accountability,” he said. “But, as far as for students, I think it’s very positive for them. We’re choosing to take a hit on our accountability, if we do we don’t think it’s going to be a major impact, but it’s putting kids first, so we’re going to put our students over accountability.”

elliott.lapin@hearst.com